Forbidden City 故宫
The Forbidden City is a large imperial palace located in Peking China. Many of the emperors and their families lived in this massive palace. The city was the main home to the emperors, but there was also a summer palace (Fessler 33). Now that emperors no longer rule China, the Forbidden City is open to the public. It is believed that the palace was completely constructed in the year 1420 (Bird eye view 1), and the construction was believed to have lasted sixteen years (MacFarquhar 77). The construction marked the move of the Nanjing Capitol to Beijing (Bird eye view 1). In the year 1403 the current Emperor Yongle, of the Ming Dynasty, made the decision to move the city to the winter retreat of the Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan (Intel History 5). Yongle decided to name this city Northern Capital. In Chinese the city is called Beijing (Intel History 6). The Forbidden City is also known as the Purple City. The palace is not purple, but the color is symbolic of the buildings the Chinese citizens believe were in Heaven (The Forbidden 2). The massive Forbidden City palace takes up 74,000 square meters (Bird eye view 3). The area was encompassed in tall walls and by a large moat (The Forbidden 1). The large walls and moat protected many dynasties over the years.ForbiddenCityLearnmore...
Home to the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the Forbidden City was rampaged by an army of peasants in 1644. Besides the theft of a few material goods no major damage was done to the city. China was left to the wind when the final emperor of the Ming Dynasty committed suicide in the Imperial Garden (Intel History 8). Despite the treaties that were made after the Opium Wars, the westerners still continued to harass the Chinese. The Emperor and his court fled the city to avoid the British troops that entered the city on the thirteenth of October in 1860. Thankfully the British avoided burning the sacred city, since the British were pleased with the destruction of Yuanmingyuan (Intel History 9). The Chinese would not return to the beloved home until the Emperor Puyi was forced into enthronement (Intel History 10). Over many attacks such as the Republican Revolution in 1912, and the sole ariel bombing in 1917, the City has remained in incredible shape and has suffered little destruction (Intel History 11,13). The final invasion in 1924 marked the city’s most important change. When the National Army demanded entrance to the Forbidden City, the Emperor Puyi was forced to leave the palace. The National Army opened the doors of the city to the public. This was the first time that any person, who was not a member of the Emperor's family, or the royal court, was allowed to enter the city. Eventually it would be open to all Chinese citizens and tourists when it became a museum. The palace officially became a museum in 1925 (Intel History 15,16). The reason visitors are inclined to visit the palace is because of the unique architecture and building layout.ForbiddenCityLearnmore...
There are many gates that lead to the interior of their Forbidden City such as The Tiananmen Gate, The Meridian Gate and The Gate of Supreme Harmony. The Tiananmen Gate was also known as the gate of Heavenly Peace. From this gate many important announcements such as engagements were made (Intel 3). The massive Meridian Gate stood tall over all other structures in the Forbidden City. While the three halls in this gate were beautiful, many barbarian prisoners were sentenced to cruel executions within their walls. In the middle of the three entrances was the emperor’s entrance. Only the emperor was allowed to pass through it. On a rare occasion the Empress or a high scorer on the Imperial Exam were allowed to pass through the center hallway (Intel 4,5,6). The Gate of Heavenly Purity leads into the inner court. To pass through this gate all people must have entered on foot, because it was considered holy ground. Only the emperor’s father was allowed to be carried through this gate in his old age (Intel 13,14). The City had many large and small gates. The most important purpose of the gates was to act as doorways to the halls.
There were many halls in the Forbidden City, each with a special purpose, and rules one must obey while in the hall. The Chinese took great care in the placement of buildings in the city. The placement of the buildings was organized and symmetrical. Often the grandest halls were reserved for the emperor, his concubines, and his family. The Hall of Supreme harmony was the grandest hall in the Forbidden City. This hall had the finest décor because many significant ceremonies were held in the Hall of Supreme Harmony. Mythical creatures adorned the walls, in hopes that the emperor would be protected from evil by their great strength (Intel 12). Also cranes can be spotted by the halls in the Forbidden City. The Cranes symbolize long life and strength(Fessler 36). Often lions guarded the edifices in the city and alerted the emperor of any mistakes made by his bureaucrats (Fessler 35). The Hall of Preserving Harmony was the party room. This is the hall where emperors hosted foreign ambassadors, dignitaries, and top scholars (Intel 12). The Palace of Heavenly Purity was home to the emperors of the Ming Dynasty. This palace was known for being a residential area. The hall of Mental Cultivation was known for being a multi-purpose room, the most important of it’s uses was being the home to Emperor Puyi (Intel 15,16,25). In the Hall Of Celestial Purity the emperor and his bureaucrats met and discussed issues. This hall was one of the three large halls in the inner courtyard (Forbidden 7). These halls were each in a special designated section of the city.
The Forbidden City is divided into the Front Palace and the Inner or South Palace (Bird eye view 3). The hall of Preserving Harmony, The Hall of Supreme Harmony and the Hall of Central Harmony make up the Front Palace of the Forbidden City. The three halls in the Front Palace were used in significant ceremonies. When a man became an emperor or an emperor had a wedding, the ceremony would be conducted in the Front Palace (Bird Eye View 3). The Inner Palace consisted of many halls that were used by the residents of the Forbidden City (Bird Eye View 3). Also a stream ran through the city. Five bridges constructed of marble crossed the Golden River. The five bridges had spiritual significance, and each stood for a virtue. This beautiful stream was constructed with great care specifically for the city (MacFarquhar 76).
All the Halls and Gates make up the magnificent Forbidden City. The Emperors of China lived in great splendor, but the citizens of China did not, because no person other than an imperial resident could enter the city (The Forbidden 2). Even though the palace had a turbulent and diverse past, the styles of all the past emperors have made it a wonderful preservation of Chinese art and culture. The ornate decorations and the precise uses of all the halls and gates show the amount of respect the citizens of China showed for their emperors. Ornate possessions and large homes surrounded the Emperors that lived in the Forbidden City, while many Chinese peasants lived with hardly a roof over their heads.ForbiddenCityLearnmore...