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10 Mysterious Facts about the Forbidden City of China

Ever wanted to explore the Forbidden City of China? The name alone inspires mystery and brings tourists from all over the world trying to find out its secrets! So, how about we find out about some of its secrets right here? Here are some fun facts about the Forbidden City in China!

1. The city was once an imperial palace.

The Forbidden City, known now as the “Palace Museum,” is actually an ancient imperial palace. It is located in the heart of Beijing, China.

2. It’s a record-breaking palace structure.

The Forbidden City covers an area of about 180 acres. It is one of the largest palace complexes in the world!

3. It dates all the way back to the 14th century.

The Forbidden City was built during what was known as the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It also served as the imperial palace for the subsequent Qing Dynasty (1644-1912). It served as the residence of 24 emperors during the dynasties.

The Meridian Gate, entrance to the Forbidden City

The Meridian Gate, entrance to the Forbidden City

4. It is known for its architecture and array of buildings.

One of the most well-known things about the Forbidden City is its incredible architecture. It is renowned for its traditional Chinese architectural style, with intricate designs, grand halls, and stunning courtyards. It’s home to almost 1,000 different buildings and almost 10,000 rooms!

5. It has a symbolic layout.

The city’s layout is symbolic and harmonious. It has a north-south axis alignment reflecting traditional Chinese cosmology and power dynamics.

6. There are yellow roofs across the Forbidden City.

One of the most unique things about the Forbidden City is its yellow roofs. The roofs of the buildings are adorned with yellow glazed tiles because the color is associated with royalty and reserved for imperial structures.

7. As its name suggests, members of the public weren’t always allowed in here.

The name “Forbidden City” originates from the fact that the palace was off-limits to the general public during the imperial era. However, visitors can see the palace now. In fact, the Forbidden City now operates as the Palace Museum, housing an incredible collection of imperial artifacts, artworks, and cultural treasures.

8. It is a world heritage site.

The Forbidden City was also designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1987. It gained the honor thanks to its historical significance and remarkable architecture.

Forbidden City, Beijing

9. There are wonderful garden scapes to explore here, too.

The Forbidden City also plays host to some beautiful imperial gardens. Gardens such as the “Garden of Tranquility and Pleasure” are known for their serene and picturesque landscapes. There are four in total to explore, with the Imperial Garden being the smallest out of all the areas you can visit in the city.

10. It’s even magnificent from the outside.

Of course, to access the Forbidden City, you have to enter through some pretty monumental gates! The Meridian Gate (Wu Men) and the Gate of Heavenly Purity (Qian Qing Men) are particularly well-known.

Gate of Heavenly Purity

Gate of Heavenly Purity in the ’80s

FAQs about the Forbidden City of China

Does the Forbidden City of China still exist?

Yes, the Forbidden City in China does still exist. However, it is no longer forbidden to the people and is open as a gigantic museum. There are also great efforts made every year to conserve the palace and its architecture.

Why does the Forbidden City have so many rooms?

It is believed that there are a total of 9,999 and a half rooms in the Forbidden City. This is due to the fact that it was believed that only God of Heaven could have 10,000 rooms!

Can anyone enter the Forbidden City?

Yes, anyone can go into the Forbidden City in China. There are multiple tours throughout the day to lead tourists and newcomers to the area through the most notable parts of the palace and its grounds.

Further reading

Do you know any fun facts about the Forbidden City of China?  Share them in the comments below!

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This page was last modified on September 4, 2023. Suggest an edit

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