Tuesday, April 9, 2013


A trip to Beijing just isn't the same without a visit to The Fobidden City - the Chinese Imperial Palace and home to past emperors and their households for almost 500 years, from the Ming Dynasty until the end of the Qing Dynasty. Its massive and amazing presence sits right at the heart and center of Beijing.

The palace complex was built in 1406 until 1420 and consists of 980 buildings. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 and has the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.

The throne in the Hall of Preserving Harmony
surrounded by ancient red wooden columns

Many interesting structures and symbols are found all throughout the Forbidden City. The ceremonial ramps at the center of the northern and southern ramp leading up to the terraces feature intricate and elaborate bas-relief carvings. The ramp behind the Hall of Preserving Harmony is carved from a single piece of stone - 16.57 meters long and weighing 200 tons.

The ceremonial ramp and its elaborate
bas-relief carvings
The Hall of Supreme Harmony's rooftop featuring ten
lined up statuettes of animals - the only building
at the time allowed to have this many - a symbol of
supreme status.
Many ridges of the building roofs feature a line of statuettes of various animals including a phoenix and a dragon. Minor buildings only have three to five, but The Hall of Supreme Harmony has ten, a unique feature in the Forbidden City, symbolizing the building as a very important one during Imperial times.

A gilded lion in front of the
Palace of Tranquil Longevity

Walking through this massive complex of Chinese ancient architecture, secrets, ancient stories and symbols was an amazing peep into China's imperial past and its many mysteries....some of which we may never discover from a time gone by.