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Gang runs across forbidden bridge

 


T
he Forbidden City is not actually a city, but a grand palace that was given the imposing name because entrance to the inner chambers were forbidden to anyone except the emperor, his family and their servants. 24 Emperors lived in this palace from the 1400s to 1924, when the new Kuomintang government forced the last emperor out. The Forbidden City is located right in the heart Beijing, the capitol of China.

 

 

 

Forbidden City from above
The Forbidden City is a huge complex covering 177 acres. It is broken up into two main parts, the inner court and the outer court. The outer court is where large ceremonies and official meetings were held. The inner court was reserved exclusively to house and entertain the emperor’s family and concubines.


The palace took 14 years to build, and was finished in 1420. It is said that it took one million workers to build the Forbidden City. An astounding 100,000 artisans were responsible for creating all the beautiful carvings, paintings, tapestries and details that decorate much of the ornate palace.

 

 

 

The grand Dragon Steps

 

 

There are many incredible pieces of artwork in the Forbidden City but one of the greatest is also the largest stone sculpture on the grounds. Despite being so large, it is worked right into the middle of a grand stone staircase. The sculpture depicts 9 dragons soaring through clouds and it weighs 250 tons! The stone used in the carving was from a town located 45 miles away from the palace, and it took 25,000 workers to pull it that distance. On cold days, the workers would dig wells, and pour water on the roadway to make it icy, and therefore easier to slide the heavy stone over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Large doors at the Forbidden City

 

 

 

There are supposedly 9,999 rooms in the Forbidden City, because in China the number nine is considered lucky. The number nine is repeated all through the art and design of the buildings. Can you see where the number nine is used in this picture?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roof Statues Forbidden City

The sloping roofs of all the buildings have protective statues at the corners. The more statues on the roof, the more important the building was. Minor buildings have three or four at each corner, while major buildings have up to ten protective statues.

 

 

 

Gate at Forbidden City

 

 

 

 

There are five main gates in the Forbidden City with great poetic names like Gate of Supreme Harmony, Gate of Heavenly Purity, and Gate of Loyal Obedience to name a few. Each gate is the entrance to a different key area of the palace. For instance, if you want to go to the stunning imperial gardens (which was my favorite part of the palace), you have to walk through the Gate of Heavenly Unity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mao Painting Entrance to Forbidden City

The Communist Government of China still keeps the famous painting of Chairman Mao, the controversial leader who began communism in the country, over the Meridian Gate entrance across from Tiananmen Square. There are also statues of lions in front of the gate. In China, lions represent bravery, good luck and power. There are lion sculptures all throughout the Forbidden City, and at entrances to buildings all over China.

 

 

 

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