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The Forbidden Palace

The Forbidden Palace is located in the center of Beijing city, it used to be the imperial palace for the Ming and Qing Dynasty’s emperors to live and handle state affaifs. In the feudal society,emperor was considered the son of the God of Heaven, so he had the supreme power and his residence was so important and absolutely forbidden to the commen people,and the color of purple is only used by imperial family, so it is named ”Forbidden Palace ”,but today,it has become a famous scenic spot to the commen people.The Forbidden Palace was built from 1406 to 1420,it is 961 meters from north to south, 753 metres from east to west,covers the area of about 725000 square metres, is the largest one of five famous palaces in the world.It is said that The Forbidden Palace has 9999 rooms. the number is only 1room less than 10000, because the emperor didn’t dare to compare himself to the God of Heaven.Though with so many rooms,the appearance of the Palace is never disordered, that is mainly becsuse the Forbidden Palace was built along the the central north-south axis ,thus can show great symmetry and tidy。In 1987,it was recognized as the world cultural legacy by UNESCO.

All the gates,palaces and rooms’ roofs in Forbidden Palace are covered with yellow glazed tiles and walls are red,which makes the architectural complex magnificent and grand.The colours of yellow and red represent fortune,wealth and earth,they were the imperial colours in feudal society.The Palace has four gates : the Meridian Gate to the south, the Spiritual Valour Gate to the north, the Xihua Gate to the west, and the Donghua Gate to the east.The Forbidden Palace is divided into two main parts:outer court and inner court. The Hall of Supreme Harmony,the Hall of Middle Harmony,the Hall of Preserving Harmony are the center of outer court,where the emperor work and exercise their power;The Palace of Heavenly Purity,the Palace of Union and Peace,The Palace of Earthly Tranquility are the center of inner court,where emperors and princesses lived.

The Meridian Gate: This is the place the emperor issue the edict and hold grand ceremony. The emperor believed that the meridian line goes through the Forbidden Palace and his residence,which means the Palace and residence is the center of the universe,another explanation is that in ancient time, meridian means south.

The Gate of Supreme Harmony:Emperor usually held his imperial audience , accepted documents and made state decisions here.

The Hall of Supreme Harmony was the hall to hold grand ceremony and important festival celebrations,such as the emperor ascended the throne, birthdays,New year’s days, weddings, it is the largest and most splendid palace.

The Hall of Middle Harmony.The word of“middle” comes from Cofucious’s “golden mean”,remind people to conduct affairs by the mild and moderate style 。This is a place for emperor to take a short rest.In the Qing Dynasty,emperor came here and check the tool for ploughimg in spring time,besides that,the emperor also held ceremony of presenting genealogy revision and approval.

The hall of preserving harmony.It is a place for emperor to have banquets to entertain the civil and military officials.Late in Qing Dynasty,emperor held the Imperial Palace exmination here,so there is no pillar in its front part.

The Gate of Heavenly Purity is the line of demarcation of outer court and inner court.

The Palace of Heavenly Purity.In the Ming and Qing Dynasty,emperor used to live here and handle state affairs,later after emperor Yongzheng,it was changed to be the audience chamber to meet with foreign ambassadors and envoys from vassal states.

The Palace of Union and Peace.It is a place where the empress held the importanpt ceremonies and her birthday celebration.In the Qing Dynasty ,the empress usually came here to examine the tools for picking mulberry in spring.This palace’s name came from the book of“Zhouyi”,means the intercourse of heaven and earth,harmony of positive and negative,as well as harmony between emperor and empress.

The Palace of Earthly Tranquility,in Ming and early Qing Dynasty,it was used as empress’ residence. Later,the hall was reconstructed imitating the Qingning Palace in Shenyang according to the Manchu Nationality’s custom.

The Imperial Garden,built in 1417. covers the area of 12000 square meters at the northern end of the central axis of the Forbidden Palace.Dotted in it with walking corridor,terraces and waterside pavillions,full of exotic flowers and rare herbs.During the Qing Dynasty the emperor,empress and imperial concubines came here to worship the Cowherd Star and the Girl Weaver Star on the 7th day of July in lunar calendar.On the Mid-Autumn Festival they came here to offer a sacrifice to the moon, and on the double-Ninth Festival they came here to ascend the Hill in the northeast of the garden to enjoy scenic beauty , The Hill of Collecting Excellence lies in the northeast of the Garden,piled with hundreds of huge and rare Taihu stone, on it the Pavilion of Imperial Landscape stands.In front of the pavilion there are some ancient pines,cypress trees and other botanies over 500 years old.The main scenic spot in the northwestern part is the Pavilion of Lasting Splendor。This is a three-stories building with carved beams and painted rafters for looking down at the whole garden and up to Jingshan mount outside the Palace,sometimes,tourists here can overlook the West Mountains far away .

The Spiritual Valour Gate is The Forbidden Palace’s north gate or back gate for daily access,on its both sides,there is a bell tower and a drug tower invidually。Hung above the gate is a horizontal tablet inscribed with five chinese character “The Palace Museum” .

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