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Forbidden City

Beijing Travel Blog

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Exit from the north gate Forbidden City, you can see the top pavilion at the Jing Shan Park.

Declared as a Unesco World Heritage site in 1987, the name ‘forbidden city’ is a translation of one of the Chinese terms for it- 紫禁城- Zījĭnchéng, so called because ordinary folk would be punished by death if they found their way in uninvited. The Forbidden City is also referred to as 故宫 – Gùgōng.

Coming from Tiananmen Square, entered through the giant portrait of Mao that hangs above the entrance, into the Meridian Gate, stay on the North-South axis in the middle of the palace compound and keep heading north, wandering too far off is bound to get you lost and exhausted.

Many of the buildings still have their original furnitures, unfortunately because there are so many people going through each day, you can't see many of them because of the fingerprints on the glass windows. An English audio guide is available at the entrance, which I’ve never tried them myself, some says the audio guide are a hassle, while some are useful. If you don't mind to spend 5-6 hours in the Forbidden city and interested in seeing some of the areas off the beaten path, then I think the audio may help you for a sense of direction and others like the building history.

Tiananmen Square is the largest public square in the world, there is nothing much to do or see, most come here because of the massacre happening. The only attraction around the square is Mao's Maosoleum where China's former leader lays preserved. Opening hours is 8am - 12pm from Tuesday to Sunday, you need to put your bag and camera at the bag-keeping counter, opposite side of memorial hall, across the road, only allowed to bring your wallet and ID with you when you pay your visit, just followed the queue. Another attraction is to catch the raising/lowering of the national flag at sunrise/sunset everyday (watching the People's Republic Army, listening to their anthem is quite an experience).

Jing Shan Park

The park is directly opposite the Forbidden City if you leave by the gate of divine military in the north, across a busy road.

Jin Shan Park (景山公园 Jĭngshān Gōngyuán) is well-known for offering a beautiful bird’s eye view of Forbidden City when smog, fog or weather permits. It is here that the last Ming Emperor hung himself in a tree desperately after he killed his family when rebel troops invaded the city. There are 5 pavilions total in the park, with the top pavilion offering a magnificent view of the city. Three paths to get to the top pavilion: the centre routes, coming in from the north entrance, require a reasonable fitness level, offering the best view of the Forbidden City, or climb up from the east or west side routes wrap around the hill, which not so overwhelming. There are many people come to exercise with tai chi, sword dancing, dancing, skipping or simply strolling paths around, up or down the hill in the centre of the park on Sunday morning.

 

Admission: ¥2 (¥5 if there are exhibition going on)

Open: 6am-10pm summer, 6:30am-8pm winter - daily

 

 

MayWongMC says:
ive always watched movies with forbidden city in them, but reading your blog and pics.. way better.. :)
Posted on: Mar 16, 2009
wsquare says:
Forbidden City has never failed to impress me. My greatest pity,even to now, is not knowing China history intensively. Most of the time, I'm still in blurry state when guides spoke so passionately of the rich intriguing history which enticed locals, but just not me!
Posted on: Mar 08, 2009
travelman727 says:
Wonderful blog and pictures :-) I'm looking forward to seeing the Forbidden City with all of the construction finished :-D
Posted on: Mar 01, 2009
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Exit from the north gate Forbidden…
Exit from the north gate Forbidde…
View from Jing Shan Park
View from Jing Shan Park
map of Forbidden City
map of Forbidden City
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photo by: Deats