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The Forbidden City

 Beijing Attractions

Shanhaiguan Great Wall

Introduction to The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City (紫禁城) was built under the reign of the third Ming Emperor Yongle. Today it is considered one of the most spectacular masterpieces of the world. The palace was designed by three architects and took 14 years to complete this extraordinary structure. Whilst creating this magnificent building, architectures took into account Feng Shui and how to harmonize buildings. 

The five prime colors used throughout the palace are white, black, red, yellow and blue. Terraces were built using white marble, black paving for the gardens and courtyards, red columns and bright yellow roofs are drawn against the blue background. The building of the Forbidden City began in 1406 and required one million workers and 100,000 artisans to complete this extraordinary work of art. The palace today serves as a modern day museum with artwork, calligraphy and other artifacts are put on display for visitors to admire. 

Features of Forbidden City 

The Forbidden City occupies an area of 720,000 square meters (177.9 acres) and has approximately 8,700 rooms. A high red wall with a total length of 3,400 meters (3,718 yards) surrounds the palace. There are four gates in each side, with Meridian Gate (Wu Men) as the main entrance. The palace consists of two main sections, the inner court and outer court. The inner court is separate to that of the outer court and was where the Emperor and his family resided. 

The Inner Court was home to the Emperor and his families, the main building within the Inner Court were the Palace of Heavenly Court, Palace of Heavenly Purity and the Palace of Earthly Tranquility. The Emperor resided in the Palace of Heavenly Purity as he represented the heavens and Yang, whereas the Empress represented earth and Yin she would reside in the Palace of Earthly Tranquility. 

When entering into the Outer Court of the Forbidden City you must pass through Meridian Gate, which is the southern gate of the city. There are 5 entrances that are guarded by pavilions known as the 5 Phoenix Pavilions. Once entering through the Meridian Gate you will come across the Golden Water Bridges where there are 5 bridges, during the dynasty period the middle bridge which was the largest was reserved for the Emperor and the four other bridges were for other royals and court officials. The main highlight of the outer court has to be the Hall of Supreme Harmony, Hall of Central Harmony and the Hall of Preserving Harmony. 

Apart from the wonderful architecture the Forbidden City also has a spectacular Imperial Garden. The garden is 130 meters wide from west to east, 90 meters from south to north, and occupies an area of 12,000 square meters. Within the garden there are several hundred year old pines, cypresses and Chinese Wisteria. There are over 20 halls, pavilions and towers in the various styles are symmetrically located on the eastern and western sides of the central axis. The paths in the garden are paved with colored cobbles with over 900 patterns.

Shanhaiguan Great Wall


The Palace Museum, 4 Jingshan Qianjie, Beijing

Shanhaiguan Great Wall

Main Sights

Bronze Gallery, Ceramics Gallery, Clock Gallery, Gold and Silver Gallery, Jade Gallery, Painting and Calligraphy Gallery, Opera Gallery and Stone Drum Gallery

Shanhaiguan Great Wall

Travel Information

Admission Fee:1st Apr – 31st Oct: 60 Yuan , 1st Nov  – 31st Mar: 40 Yuan  
Opening Hours: 1st Apr – 31st Oct 8:30AM - 5:00PM, 1st Nov – 31st Mar 8:30AM- 4:30PM
Best Time to Visit: The Forbidden City is suitable to visit all year round.

Shanhaiguan Great Wall


1. Bus Routes: 1, 20, 82, 120, 126, 203, 728 getting off at Tiananmen East Stop. 
2. Bus Routes: 1, 10, 22, 37, 52, 205, 802 getting off at Tiananmen West Stop

Shanhaiguan Great Wall

Travel Tips 

1. Try to avoid visiting during the summer holidays and Golden Week in October as it will be extremely crowded.

2. Make sure you are dressed comfortably and we must emphasise that comfortable footwear is important as you will be walking for at least 3-4 hours.


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