Travel & Leisure

Brief History of China’s Most Visited Destination: The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City has been likened to a time capsule that houses precious fragments of Chinese ancient history, culture and feudalism. An impressive palace complex that serves as a proof of the Chinese feudalism era, the city was both the central of Chinese government as well as the residence for the imperial family dated back to the 15th century.

Brief history of the forbidden city in China

A lot of people had misinterpreted the Forbidden City to be thousands of years old and dated back to millennia ago since the first emperor of China.

The reality is, the Forbidden City is established only in the 15 C.E. Constructed from 1406-1420, the construction that took approximately fifteen years was said to involve over one million ordinary laborers. To this day, the Forbidden City remains arguably as the most important heritage of the Chinese history.

The Forbidden City is located in the heart of Beijing, and now it has become a must-visit for those who visit Beijing. The place had became a museum in the years of 1920 in the year of 1987, the palace complex was listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Site.

The Forbidden City was constructed during the reign of Yongle Emperor. An emperor with the given name Zhu Di, who is the fourth son of the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty, instated himself Emperor after a successful coup. The Chinese capital back then was Nanjing.

To further solidify Yongle emperor’s powers, he decided to move the capital to Beijing, where he built the Forbidden City right at the heart of the newly instated capital.

The Ming Dynasty emperor was also responsible for the historical site known as the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing, a Pagoda located in the South bank of the outer side of Qinhuai River.

The Forbidden City had undergone many changes during the time it existed. From expansions during the Ming and Qing Dynastie, to fires from rebellions and coups throughout its history.

The most recent one happened right after the fall of the last ruling Dynasty, the Qing Dynasty.

Varying opinions ensued after the last emperor, Puyi, abdicated the throne. Some suggested the site to be demolished because it is a symbol of a barbaric past. Thankfully no one get around to executing this opinion.

It was not until the Chinese was opened to the rest of the world and tourists began entering China and visiting the Forbidden City that the effort for restoration of the palace complex was made. Reconstruction effort was made to restore the palace complex to its former 1912 appearance, during the time in which the Qing Dynasty ended.

To this day, the Forbidden City remains a major influence in Chinese architectures. Not many of the world’s palace architecture managed to survive today. With the sheer size and the cultural value of the Forbidden City, the place easily became the world’s largest surviving ancient wooden architecture.

It is an exemplary model of the Chinese feudal architectures that survived. The architecture had come to be recognized as the culmination of Chinese and East Asian architectural style and symbolism.

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