Forbidden City (Palace Museum)

The Forbidden City, located in the center of the central axis of Beijing, is the imperial palace of Ming and Qing dynasty of China and the essence of ancient Chinese palace architecture. It was built during the Ming dynasty and took 14 years to complete it. The Forbidden city has three main halls as the center: Hall of Preserving Harmony, Hall of Central Harmony, Hall of Central Harmony. The palace museum covers area of 720,000 square meters, and the construction area of it is about 150,000 square meters with more than 70 palaces and 9,000 rooms. The architecture and design of it also reflects the concept of “integration of man and nature” in ancient China, which also shows the legitimacy of the regime and the supremacy of imperial power.

Basic Facts about Forbidden City:

  • It is a rectangular-shapedcity(961 meters long and 753 meters wide) with a moat of 52 meters wide outside and surrounded by 10 meters high wall.
  • Thearchitecturesinside the Forbidden City are divided into two parts: one is the Outer Court and the other is Inner C The center of the Outer Court is the three main halls (the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Hall of Complete Harmony and the Hall of Preserving Harmony) where the State hlde great events, while the center of the Inner Court is the Palace of Heavenly Purity, the Hall of Union and the Palace of Earthly Tranquility where the emperor and empress lived.
  • There are four gates of the palace. First is the Meridian Gate to the south, which is the main entrance of the Forbidden City, andothers are Gate of Divine Prowess to the north, Donghua Gate to the east and Xihua Gate to the west.
  • Nowadays, the Palace Museum is themost renowned museum in China with a large number of ancient Chinese art treasures.

Why Choose to Visit the Forbidden City (Palace Museum):

  • It is one of the largest and most complete ancient wooden architecturecomplexin the world.
  • The Palace Museum is honored as the head of the five palaces of the world (others are Versailles palace in France, Buckingham Palace in Britain, the White House in the United States and the Kremlin in Russia).
  • The Forbidden City was listed as theworld cultural heritage site in 1987 by UNESCO.

How to Buy Entrance Tickets:

  • Price of Entrance Tickets: The ticket price of the Palace Museum is different in peak season ( April 1st to Oct.31st) and low season (Nov.1st to Mar.31st).
Peak season CNY 60
Low season CNY 40
The Treasure Gallery CNY 10
The Gallery of Clocks CNY 10

Opening time: The opening time will be changed according to the peak season and low season, and the opening time will changed at some Chinese official holidays or some important events. Except for official holidays, the Palace Museum is closed on Mondays of each week.

Peak season 8:00-17:00
Low season 8:00-16:30

Notes: Please notice the ticketing time and entry time and arrange your tour appropriately.

The ticketing time of peak season is 8:30-16:30, and the last entry time is 16:10.

The ticketing time of low season is 8:30-15:30, and the last entry time is 15:40.

When is the Best Time for the Forbidden City (the Palace Museum) Tour?

Each moment of the Palace Museum is attracting, especially in autumn and winter. In autumn, red wall and golden ginkgo leaves enhance beauty of each other. And when it snows in winter, visitors can walk slowly along the palace walls with fluttering snowflakes.

Tips: Visitors had better avoid the official holidays in China, because many Chinese citizens choose to travel on official holidays. As a result, most Chinese tourist attractions are overcrowded and traffic jams are quite common.

Official Holidays in China

Chinese New Year Around January or February
Winter vacation January-February
Labor Day May1st -3rd
Summer vacation(for students) July-August31st
Mid-Autumn Festival Around mid-September
National Day October 1st-7th

How to get to Forbidden City (the Palace Museum) ?

  • How to get to Meridian gate

As the only entrance for visitors, people can get there by convenient public transportation.

Bus

Visitors can get off the bus at Tiananmen East Station and then walk about 900 meters to get there.

There are many bus for tourists to choose, such as bus No.1, No.2, No.52, No.59, No.82, No.99 and No.120. The sightseeing line 1, line 2 are also available.

Visitors could also get off at Tiananmen West Station. Bus No.1, No.5, No.52, No.99, the sightseeing line1 and line 2 are also available there.

Subway

Visitors can take subway line 1 and get off at Tiananmen East Station (Exit A), then walk about 900 meters to get there.

How to Tour the Forbidden City (the Palace Museum)?

There are various kinds of tour routes of the Palace Museum as follows.

  • The tour route in2 hours

Two hours is enough to visit palaces on the central axis of the Forbidden City for tourists, that is the tour line of the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Hall of Complete Harmony and the Hall of Preserving Harmony, the Palace of Heavenly Purity, the Hall of Union and the Palace of Earthly Tranquility. Although the schedule may be tight, it is still possible for visitors to visit exhibitions on this tour line. More details about current exhibitions could be found in the official website of the Forbidden City.

The Meridian Gate→Gate of Supreme Harmony→Hall of Supreme Harmony→”Treasures from the Qing Palace” Western corridor rooms to the south of the Hall of Preserving Harmony→Hall of Central Harmony→Hall of Preserving Harmony→Gate of Heavenly Purity→Palace of Heavenly Purity→Hall of Union→Palace of Earthly Tranquility→Imperial Garden→Gate of Divine Prowess

The Meridian Gate→Gate of Supreme Harmony→Hall of Supreme Harmony→”Treasures from the Qing Palace” Western corridor rooms to the south of the Hall of Preserving Harmony→”Memory of the Old Palace” Eastern corridor rooms to thesouth of the Hall of Preserving Harmony→Hall of Central Harmony→Hall of Preserving Harmony→Gate of Heavenly Purity→Palace of Heavenly Purity→Hall of Union→Palace of Earthly Tranquility→Imperial Garden→Gate of Divine Prowess

  • The tour route of half-a-day

If visitors would like to take half a day to visit the Forbidden City, people could not only explore the central axis but also the Six Palaces in east and west, Painting and Calligraphy Gallery in Hall of Martial Valor or “The Ceramics Gallery” in Hall of Literary Brilliance.

TheMeridian Gate→”Gallery of Painting and Calligraphy” in Hall of Martial Valor or “The Ceramics Gallery” in Hall of Literary Brilliance→Gate of Supreme Harmony→Hall of Supreme Harmony→Hall of Central Harmony→Hall of Preserving Harmony→”Hall of Clocks” Hall for Ancestral Worship or “Treasure Gallery, Gallery of Qing Imperial Opera” The Palace of Tranquil Longevity Sector→Palace of Heavenly Purity→Hall of Union→Palace of Earthly Tranquility→Hall of Mental Cultivation→Area of Six Western Palaces or Area of Six Eastern Palaces→Imperial Garden→Gate of Divine Prowess

The Meridian Gate→“Painting and Calligraphy Gallery”Hall of Martial Valor→Gate of Supreme Harmony→Hall of Supreme Harmony→Hall of Central Harmony→Hall of Preserving Harmony→Palace of Heavenly Purity→Hall of Union→Palace of Earthly Tranquility→Area of Six Eastern Palaces→Hall for Abstinence→Outer Court of Palace of the Tranquil Longevity Sector : Treasure Gallery and Stone Drum Gallery→Inner Court of Palace of the Tranquil Longevity Sector/ Treasure Gallery, Opera Gallery/ the Well of Consort Zhen→Gate of Divine Prowess

  • The tour route of one day

The one-day tour could cover almost all the important palaces of the Palace Museum but it is also necessary for visitors to make a schedule to arrange time appropriately.

The Meridian Gate→ “Painting and Calligraphy Gallery” Hall of Martial Valor→ “Ceramics Gallery” Hall of Literary Brilliance→ Gate of Supreme Harmony→ Hall of Supreme Harmony→ Hall of Central Harmony→ Hall of Preserving Harmony→ Palace of Heavenly Purity→ Hall of Union→ Palace of Earthly Tranquility→ Hall of Mental Cultivation→ Area of Six Western Palaces→ Imperial Garden→ Area of Six Eastern Palaces→ “Hall of Clocks” Hall for Ancestral Worship→ “The Treasure Gallery, Gallery of Qing Imperial Opera” Area of Palace of Tranquil Longevity→ Gate of Divine Prowess

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