Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Forbidden City - Part I

The last stop on Pipkin and Domo's tour of Beijing took place at the very center of Beijing, in the Forbidden City.

The northwest corner tower
For over 500 years, the Forbidden City served as the imperial palace and residency of the emperors from the Ming dynasty to the Qing dynasty. The palace gets its name from the simple fact that no one was allowed entry to the palace without the emperor's permission. The architecture of the palace also serves as a reminder of this fact. 7.9 m (26 ft) high walls surround the palace. At its base, the walls are 8.62 m (28.3 feet) thick, tapering at the top to over 6.66 m (21.9 feet) thick.

What would a palace be without a moat? Surrounding the palace is a 6 m (20 ft) deep moat. Who knows what creatures lurk there...the fish certainly aren't biting.

The Meridian Gate

Entry into the palace is through a series of gates with seemingly small doors.

Once you've arrived in the Outer Court you face a large, open space in front of the Hall of Supreme Harmony. There wasn't enough harmony though, to allow for trees in the courtyard, because the emperor was afraid of attacks by ninjas, so the courtyard was left completely bare. Visitors to the palace fry under the hot sun, which probably makes the crowd more receptive to whatever message the emperor had that day.

Renovations to the massive courtyard and palace are on going as crews restore the palace to its pre 1912 glory. You can see the uneven, crumbling older sections, compared to the parts that are being restored.

There are 980 buildings that make up the Forbidden Palace! It's a lot to take in in one visit, so Pipkin's going to get out of this blistering sun to check out more of the palace. Stay tuned for Part II.


  1. Mr. Pistacheo would certainly like to meet Pipkin and friends.

    1. Great photos of Mr. Pistacheo! He seems to like getting out, too!


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