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Situated in the very heart of Beijing, The Forbidden City was the home for 24 emperors of the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) Dynasties. The construction of the grand palace started in the fourth year of Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty (1406) and ended in 1420.

In ancient times, the emperor was said to be a son of Heaven as his supreme power was bestowed by the heaven. The emperors’ residence on earth was built as a replica of the Purple Palace where God was thought to live in Heaven.

It is also famous as the Palace Museum and Gu Gong for the Chinese people and many tourists abroad. It took 14 years to build it for the first time during the reign of Emperor Chengzu in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Ancient Chinese Astronomers believed that the Heavenly Emperor lived in the Purple Palace because the Purple Star (Polaris) was regarded as the center of heaven. As a result, the Palace for the emperor in it was called the Purple City. It was forbidden for ordinary people to enter without special permission of the emperor. That’s why it was named as 'The Forbidden City' which is short for  'The Purple Forbidden City'.

Now known as the Palace Museum, it is to the north of Tiananmen Square. It is the largest and complex rectangular palace in the world. And it covers 74 hectares. There are more than 8,700 rooms surrounded by a 52-meter-wide moat and a 10-meter-high wall. The wall has a gate on each side. The distance between the south Meridian Gate (Wumen) and the North Gate of Divine Prowess (Shenwumen) is 961 meters (1,051 yards), while the distance between the east and west gates is 753 meters (823 yards). What’s more, there are distinctive and well-structured towers on the curtain wall of the four corners. They offer views from inside and outside the palace.

Attractions nearby The Forbidden City

Recommended Tours Including The Forbidden City

Beijing-Xian-Lhasa-Yangtze River Cruise-Shanghai

This 15-day tour will take you to visit the six famous cities in China from east to west. You will have an opportunity to visit the capital city Beijing. Then take a short tour to Xi’an. After that, you are going to visit Lhasa, the roof of the world then fly to Chongqing to enjoy the breathtaking view of Yangtze River as well.


This great tour will take you to the three mighty provinces of China - Beijing, the heart of China; Sichuan, the land of abundance; and Tibet, the roof of the world. You can visit all the enchanting sites to discover the culture and the traditional beauty.


Explore China like an insider. From the east to west, visit Shanghai - the fastest growing city in Asia, Xián-the the ancient capital of 13 dynasties, Tibet -the holy land of Tibetan Buddhism, and Beijing- the capital of China. You won't miss any highlights.

Get More Itineraries Including The Forbidden City

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