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Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing (the Forbidden City) and Shenyang (Mukden Palace)

The Forbidden City (Chinese: 紫禁城; pinyin: Zǐjinchéng; literally "Purple Forbidden City") was the Chinese imperial palace during the mid-Ming and the Qing Dynasties.

Mukden Palace (Simplified Chinese: 沈阳故宫; Traditional Chinese: 瀋陽故宮; pinyin: Shěnyáng Gùgōng) is the former imperial palace of the early Qing Dynasty (1616 - 1910) of China.

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Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing (the Forbidden City) and Shenyang (Mukden Palace) Location

The Forbidden City is located in the middle of Beijing, China. It is now known as the Palace Museum. Its extensive grounds cover 720,000 square meters. The Forbidden City has 800 buildings with more than 8,000 rooms. The Imperial Palace Grounds are located directly to the north of Tiananmen Square and are accessible from the square via Tiananmen Gate. It is surrounded by a large area called the Imperial City.

Mukden Palace is the former imperial palace of the early Qing Dynasty (1616 - 1910) of China. It is located in the center of the city of Mukden, Manchuria (Shenyang, China).

Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing (the Forbidden City) and Shenyang (Mukden Palace) Attractions

The Forbidden City

Layout
Rectangular in shape, the Forbidden City is the world's largest palace complex and covers 720,000 square meters (178 acres, or 0.28 square miles). It is surrounded by a six meter deep moat and a ten meter high wall. The Forbidden City includes five halls, seventeen palaces, and numerous other buildings.

The Forbidden City is divided into two parts. The Outer Court, which includes the southern and central sections, centres on three halls which were used for ceremonial purposes, such as coronations, investitures, and imperial weddings. The three halls include the magnificent Hall of Supreme Harmony (太和殿), itself fronted by the Gate of Supreme Harmony (太和門). Apart from ceremony, the Outer Court also houses the Imperial Library, archives, and lantern storage. The Inner Court includes the northern, eastern, and western parts of the Forbidden City, and centres on another three halls which were used for the day-to-day affairs of state. The most important among these is the Palace of Heavenly Purity (乾清宫). The Inner Court was where the Emperor worked and lived with his family, eunuchs and maid-servants.

Buildings in the Forbidden City are arranged along three north-south axes. The central axis houses the most important buildings. It runs from Meridian Gate in the south, to the Gate of Divine Might in the north. The "Three Front Halls", the centre of ceremonies, and the "Three Back Palaces", the centre of day-to-day affairs of state, are arranged along the central axis. Along the eastern axis are a number of semi-independent courtyards. The northern part of the eastern axis served as the Qianlong Emperor's residence in his retirement. Along the western axis are several gardens and a number of religious buildings. Large parts of the western section are not open to the public. Some buildings are in bad repair; a few were destroyed by fire in 1923 and never rebuilt. In his memoir, Puyi thought that the fire was started by eunuchs wanting to conceal evidence of smuggling treasures out of the palace.

Walls
The wall around the Forbidden City has a gate on each side. At the southern end is the Meridian Gate[2] To the north is the Gate of Divine Might, which faces Jingshan Park. The distance between these two gates is 960 meters, while the distance between the gates in the east and west walls is 750 meters. The walls are thick and squat and were specifically designed to withstand attacks by cannons.

There are unique and delicately structured towers on each of the four corners of the surrounding wall. These towers afford views over both the palace and the city outside.

Outside the main gate to the Forbidden City, the Meridian Gate faces a square where imperial corporal punishments were sometimes carried out. To the south of that square stands Tiananmen Gate.

Gardens
At the northern end of the Forbidden City is the imperial garden. It is home to some relatively old trees, most between 100 and 300 years of age.

Symbolism
The royal color was yellow, and that color dominates the rooftops. On each corner of the roofs, there are small statuettes, the number of which designated the power of the person living within the building. The number 9 was reserved for the emperor. Only one building has 10 statuettes at each corner.[citation needed]

Major Buildings
Meridian Gate
Tiananmen Gate
Gate of Supreme Harmony
Gate of Divine Might
Hall of Supreme Harmony
Palace of Heavenly Purity

Surroundings
The Forbidden City is surrounded by royal gardens. To the west lies Zhongnanhai, the complex of buildings centred on two lakes which serves as the central headquarters for the Communist Party of China. To the north-west lies Beihai Park, which also centres on a lake and is a popular park. To the north lies Jingshan Park, also known as Jing Shan or Coal Hill, where the last Ming emperor hanged himself as the rebel army overran his palace.

Today, Tiananmen Gate in front of the Forbidden City is decorated with a portrait of Mao Zedong in the center and two placards to the left and right. The left placard reads "中华人民共和国万岁"(Traditional Chinese: 中華人民共和國萬歲; pinyin: zhōnghuá rénmín gònghéguó wànsuì; "Long Live the People's Republic of China"), while the right placard reads "世界人民大团结万岁"(Traditional Chinese: 世界人民大團結萬歲; pinyin: shìjiè rénmín dà tuánjié wànsuì; "Long live the Great Unity of the World's Peoples"). The phrasing has great symbolic meaning, as the phrase "long live" was traditionally reserved for the Emperors of China, but is now available to the common people. This is also true of the Forbidden City palace itself.

The Mukden Palace

Early construction of the Mukden Palace began in 1625 during the reign of the founder of the Manchu Dynasty, Nurhaci. By 1631, additional structures were added under Emperor Hong Taiji.

Mukden Palace was built to resemble the Forbidden City in Beijing. However, the palace also exhibits hints of Manchurian and Tibetan styles.

After the Qing Dynasty replaced the Ming Dynasty in 1644 in Beijing, the Mukden palace lost its status as the official residence of the Emperor. Instead, the Mukden Palace became a regional palace.

In 1780, Emperor Qianlong further expanded the palace. Successive Qing dynasty emperors usually stayed at Mukden Palace for some time each year.

 

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More on Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing (the Forbidden City) and Shenyang (Mukden Palace)

Description of Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing (the Forbidden City) and Shenyang (Mukden Palace) at the World Heritage Listing

Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing (the Forbidden City) and Shenyang (Mukden Palace) Photo Gallery

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