Sunday, January 25, 2015

Forbidden City

In my last post, I went into way more detail than I expected about the history of Tian'anmen Square. It was on the list of top things to do while in Beijing.

The rest of the list included the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace and hutongs. I didn't pay for any tours, just rode the metro to them, paid the entrance fee (at the places that had them) and wandered around aimlessly. If I was really interested in the tours it was quite easy to eavesdrop on the tour guides and follow them around. This was especially true for the larger tour groups.

  Forbidden City

Right after my visit to Tian'anmen square I went to the Forbidden City. I walked through the Gate of Heavenly Peace, or Tiananmen and into the Imperial City. I walked through the city where there were several tourists--with their tour guides--and tour guides soliciting people to tour through this famous palace.

I purchased entrance into the city and entered through a gate and started walking around. It was like many temples and palaces I had seen before. Pagoda architecture, lots of intricate designs and  colours. The main difference was it was bigger than the others I have seen. All of the palaces were named exotically, using words that translate to peace, harmony, tranquil, heavenly and purity to name a few.

The palaces were built with wood and large blocks of marble. I overheard a tour guide telling some people that the marble was transported to the city by pouring a path of water through the streets and letting the water freeze so it could be pushed across the ice. Much easier than trying to haul big marble blocks before modern machinery.

The Forbidden City sits on the central axis of the city that runs north south. This has historical significance as it seems to be aligned with other important landmarks like the flagpole in Tian'anmen Square, Mao's mausoleum and the Bell and Drum Towers. It also may be aligned with the other Chinese capital during the Yuan dynasty, Xanadu.

As you can see from my pictures above, the day I visited the Forbidden City (and later the Summer Palace) were really clear days. I was lucky. You can tell by the blue skies in the pictures. The top picture is just a picture of the city streets the day before. You can see the contrast from that and the pictures below.


  1. Stealing a tour, cheapo Andy.

  2. haha. Perhaps.

    But to be honest I didn't listen to any tour for very long. I wasn't in the mood to. I just did my own thing. Thanks for the comment...who is this?

  3. haha. My Dad wouldn't know what ur means.

  4. You really are a good photographer!