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“Leave time for the Garden”

Forbidden City-The Palace Museum
Ranked #5 of 1,567 things to do in Beijing
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Consisting of more than 9,000 rooms and spread over 250 acres, this huge palace complex was built in the 15th century and later extensively renovated and restored during the Qing Dynasty in the 18th century.
Reviewed 3 November 2010

Everyone goes through the Imperial Palace in the same direction, and by the time you get to the gardens you are pretty tired. Please save some energy to explore the gardens - they are lovely and such a contrast to the wide open expanses of the rest of the Palace. Recommend that you read up on the history and significance before you go as the crowds are huge and the signs don't give as much information as I would like to see.

Thank GraniteStater091
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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A TripAdvisor Member
Beijing, China
12
Reviewed 29 October 2010

Located in the center of Beijing, the Forbidden City, known as the Palace Museum now, was built in 1406, the fourth year of Emperor Yongle’s reign during the Ming Dynasty(1368-1644), and was completed in1420. Once used as the royal palace in the Ming and Qing dynasties (1644-1911), the Forbidden City was home to 24 emperors, including 14 of the Ming and 10 of the Qing, for as long as 500 years.This grand and majestic complex is the extant largest and completed wooden cluster in the world. In 1987, it was inscribed into the World Heritage List by the UNESCO.

The Forbidden City occupies a total area of 720,000 square meters, with the construction area of 150,000 square meters and more than 8,700 rooms. Though repaired and rebuilt many times during the Ming and Qing dynasties, it remains the original basic form and layout. The palace was surrounded by 10-meter-tall wall, outside of which runs a 52-meter-wide moat. There are four corner towers on the four corner of the wall, composing a strong defense sytstem of the Forbidden City.

The rectangular palace city is arranged out by an invisible central axis. Qianqingmen Square connects the Outer and Inner Court. Main structures stand on the central axis symmetrically and such a well arranged layout raises the imposing manner of the whole complex and stresses the imperial dignity and supreme Harmony, Hall of Middle Harmony and Hall of Preserving Harmony, is the place where the emporer conducted state affairs and held grand ceremonies. The Inner Court, centered on the Palace of Heavenly Purity, Hall of Union and Peace and Palace of Earthly Tranquility, jointedly called Three Back Palaces, was where theemperor handled state affairs and the royal family members lived, amused and worshipped the Gods. The Inner Court is regard as the place where the heaven and earth met and yin and yang united. At the end of the central axis of the Forbidden City is the Imperial Garden, fully showing the planning layout of the feudal imperial palaces. The landscape in the Imperial Garden is diverse in the neat layout, playing up the imposing royal manner and displaying the garden’s characteristics as well.

The Forbidden City is also a treasure house, and nearly 1000,000 pieces of historical and cultural relics and artistic treasures anre collected in the Forbidden City, many of which are state relics. Now, the original displaying in the Three Grand Halls, Three Back Halls and the Six Western Palace has been remained and restores. Additionally there open several exhibitions halls where visitors can view the admire bronze wares, pottery and porcelain wares, handicrafts, calligraphy and paintings, clocks, and etc.

2  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 October 2010

Superb historic construction.

I got to Forbidden City on Monday. It's so crowded. It take a long time to buy ticket. I got it finally and started taking some photos. The Forbidden City is a wonderful place and don't miss it if you visit Beijing. A very hictoric construction it is and must-do place. Previous reviews of FC is positive and detailed.

Thank Chebnasro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 October 2010

Visited the Forbidden City last week, having made the huge mistake of going to China during the first week of October--National Holiday Week--the celebration of the anniversary of Communist China, when all of China is on vacation and travelling.

Although we were taken there by a guide, we had to wait over an hour for tickets, because they cannot be purchased on-line, in advance, through your hotel, no way, no how.

It was unbelievably crowded after we got in. We later read that the maximum number of visitors allowed is supposed to be 60,000 people. On the day we were there, there were reportedly 122,000.

The palace buildings were all in disrepair--in need of paint, and a cleaning.
And, the women's bathrooms only had squatting stalls, no "Western" toilets, no toilet paper, and vile smells.

Since the Chinese were able to build the Great Wall 2,000 years ago, one would certainly think they would have taken their bathrooms out of the 19th century.

You really can't go to Beijing without seeing this, but maybe you should!

Very disappointing!!!!!

1  Thank Franticflo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 9 October 2010

This is a must-stop location in Beijing, a very well-known relic of Chinese history. I came here as part of a paid tour group, which I made sure had this stop in their itinerary (it should be listed in all tour group itinerary to Beijing). I think we took maybe 3 or 4 hours to walk around, take pictures, and see most of this Forbidden Palace. To think that commoners (like me) were forbidden to enter these grounds in the past, and for me to do it now was cool. We went on a weekday during the month of May and the place was crowded with people. To see so many people takes away the "forbidden" beauty of the Palace. I felt like I was in a theme park rather than a cultural tourist attraction because there was just so many people and there isn't really anything "fun" to do inside but walk and see. At every royal palace inside, there was always a crowd of people clustering in front for a prime spot to take a good picture of the inside of the palace. Each royal palace is closed off from public entrance, and you can only see the inside through big open doors at the front, with the middle section being the prime spot of seeing the royal chair where the royals get to sit. Basically you can see (from afar) but you can't touch. Every royal palace has a purpose and there is a sign to educate you. For example, there is quarters where the Queen lives in, or where the King holds court, etc. You will be doing a lot of walking and there aren't seating areas available (though you can makeshift one from the side of a building or on a side banister or even the floor). I have not seen any place to buy snacks or drinks during my walk, so I'd advised bringing those just in case (though I think you'll be too busy exploring to develop a hunger pang). Overall, I would definitely recommend visiting this place if you have never been here before because it is an important symbol of Chinese history. I wanted to immerse myself into the past, but it was kind of difficult when you have lots of people milling around. Oh, and definitely go as early as you can because cultural parks like this close early.

Tip: Jingshan Park, across the street from the North Gate of the Forbidden City, gives an amazing panoramic overview of the palace grounds from its summit. I would recommend going there for taking beautiful pictures of the Forbidden City overview.

1  Thank Elizabeth C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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