The Forbidden City is an amazing place! For those of you who don't know, it's the area where many of the emperors of China lived (from the Ming Dynasty through the end of the Qing Dynasty), and it's seriously large enough to be a small town. You can see it directly from Tian'an Men Square. Just walk towards the humongous picture of Chairman Mao.
The forbidden city was constructed during the time period of 1406-1420 when the capitol was moved from Nanjing to Beijing. It's about 180 acres large and there are 980 buildings inside. It was called the forbidden city because no one could enter or leave without the emperor's permission. However, there have been some unfortunate times when this place was occupied by Anglo-French forces during the Second Opium War (1860) and also ravaged during the Boxer Revolution.
Inside the entrance there's a small barracks. I'm a little bit confused why this is the spot they chose.
Now this place is huge and it's divided into two major areas: the outer court where ceremonies took place, and the back palace where the emperor and his family (concubines included) resided. There are also multiple halls where the emperor would conduct business and they're all given philosophical names.
Here are a few pictures that try but fail to give this place justice.
This is a turtle mythical creature.
Look at the cool designs!
This "cauldron" I guess you would call it is one of the casualties from the Second Opium War. Anglo-French forces scraped all of the gold off of it and this is how it looks now. These cauldrons are placed all over the Forbidden City as a means of putting out any fires. Pretty neat! I wouldn't want to be the one carrying them though.
I love the designs all over this place!
I'm sorry I can't remember which Hall this is supposed to be. All I can tell you is you have to push and shove and be pushed and shoved to be able to take a picture from the entrance (you can't go in, obviously).
Now this one I know! The Hall of Preserving Harmony! Notice the nine dragon throne- it's pretty famous. And again, more pushing and shoving here.
This jade installment was put outside the emperor's study for him to look at when he got bored or was out of ideas. I'm sorry I totally forgot what the tour guide said about it- that was years ago.
This jade was put in the back palace by an empress to remind the concubines to be pure. Well unfortunately I don't think a rock kept them from backstabbing and sabotaging each other to win the emperor's affections.
I really enjoy visiting the forbidden city every time I had the chance. I'd like to go again even! When you go though, be prepared for large crowds around the halls. Since it's such a large place you won't feel squished all the time. It's just nice to walk where emperors and empresses used to walk and imagine what it was like. Next time I'll tell you about the Temple of Heaven in Beijing!