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Virtual Tour of Forbidden City

--Palace Museum

Introduction | Virtual tour | Architecture | Construction | Present condition | Treasure
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Forbidden City is too huge, so it is easy to get lost. Now I will take you for a virtual tour around the mysterious palace complex. We will visit the Forbidden City from south to north along the central axis.

Forbidden CityNow start your tour in the Forbidden City from Wumen. It's the main gate and south gate of the Forbidden City. Inside the Meridian Gate, there appear Inner Golden Water River Bridges. Standing on the bridges, one can see a grand structure called Taihemen (Gate of Supreme Harmony), which is the most impressive gate in the city with two bronze lions guarding the front.

Now we are in the out court, the three main buildings in front of us is Taihedian (Hall of Supreme Harmony), Zhonghedian (Hall of Central Harmony) and Baohedian (Hall of Preserved Harmony). These halls are all situated on three-tier marble terraces, with ornate marble balustrades.

  • The first and grandest hall isTaihedian (Hall of Supreme Harmony), where emperors exercised their autocracy over the whole country. This is where the emperor ascended his throne and granted audience to visiting officials and other important events were celebrated.

  • North of Taihedian is Zhonghedian (Hall of Central Harmony), a square building much smaller than Taihedian. It was the place where the emperor rested on his way to Taihedian and interviewed his ministers or officials from the Ministry of Rites and rehearsals for ceremonies were also held here.

  • Baohedian (Hall of Preserved Harmony), the second largest architecture in the palace. Imperial banquets were often given here to entertain high officials. It was in this hall, emperors presided the final stage of national examinations to select officials from all over the country. A huge stone ramp carved with coiled dragons and clouds is located between the steps leading up to each hall. The ramp behind the Baohedian (Hall of Preserved Harmony) is the largest of these.

The gate to the north of Baohedian is Qianqingmen (Gate of Celestial Purity), which is the boundary of the Outer Court and the Inner Court. Inside the gate, is the residence of the royal family. The Inner Court is divided into three parts. The three halls on the center axis are the main structures and they are smaller in size than the three halls in the Outer Court, although they look the same in style. Xiliugong (Six Western Palaces) and Dongliugong (Six Eastern Palaces) are also important complexes, for it was here that the imperial concubines resided.

Yangxindian (Hall of Mental Cultivation) and Xiliugong (Six Western Palaces) stand from north to south on the left side of the Inner Court. Yangxindian (Hall of Mental Cultivation) was an important hall in the palace since from Emperor Yongzheng, most emperors later lived and attended to state affairs here. North of Yangxindian, is Xiliugong (Six Western Palaces), which consists of Yongshougong (Palace of Eternal Longevity), Yikungong (Palace of the Queen Consort), Chuxiugong (Palace for Gathering Elegance), Taijidian (Hall of the Supreme Pole), Changchungong (Palace of Eternal Spring) and Xianfugong (Palace of Universal Happiness). The first three are on the right and the second three on the left along a north-south alley.

On the right side of the Outer Court, viz. east side, there are Fengxiandian (Hall for Ancestry Worship), Zhaigong (Palace of Abstinence) where emperors practiced abstinence a few days before going to offer sacrifices at the Temple of Heaven or the Temple of Earth, and Dongliugong (Six Eastern Palaces) which consists of Jingrengong (Palace of Great Benevolence), Chengqiangong (Palace of Celestial Favour), Yonghegong (Palace of Eternal Harmony), Jingyanggong (Palace of Great Brilliance), Zhongcuigong (Palace of Purity) and Yanxigong (Palace of Lasting Happiness). In a separate enclosure further east are two palaces, which Emperor Qianlong built for his abdication. They are Ningshougong (Palace of Tranquil Longevity) and Huangjidian (Hall of Imperial Supremacy). Further north, there are Yangxingdian (Hall of Temper Cultivation), Leshoutang (Hall of Joyful Longevity) and Yihexuan (Pavilion of Sustained Harmony). Now most these palaces on the east are exhibition halls displaying different curiosities.

North of the Inner Court is Yuhuayuan (Imperial Garden). Though small in size, it is exquisitely laid out with towers, pavilions, artificial hills, springs, rocks, old trees, flowers and lawns - a replica of the gardens of southern China.

Just behind the garden is Shenwumen (Gate of Divine Might), the rear gate of the Forbidden City. On the gate there was a drum and a bell.
Now start your tour in the Forbidden City from Wumen (Meridian Gate).

Beijing Tour Routes Includes Forbidden City:

BH-1. 3 nights 4 days Beijing tour BH-2. 4 nights 5 days Beijing tour
BH-3. 5 nights 6 days Beijing tour BH-4. 6 nights 7 days Beijing tour
BK-1. 2 days Beijing tour BK-2. 3 days Beijing tour
BK-3. 4 days Beijing tour BK-4. 5 days Beijing tour
BK-5. 6 days Beijing tour BK-6. 7 days Beijing tour
BJSH-1. 5 days Beijing Shanghai Tour BJGL-1. Beijing Guilin Tour
BJSH-2. 6 days Beijing Shanghai Tour BJSH-3. Beijing Shanghai Suzhou Tour (7 days)
BJSH-4. 9 days Beijing Shanghai Suzhou Hangzhou Tour BJLH-1. Beijing Lhasa Tour

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