The Imperial Palace is the largest and best-preserved palace in the world. Twenty-four emperors of the Ming (1368-2644) and Qing (1644-191 I) dynasties resided and handled state affairs here. It was forbidden to laboring people in the past, hence the name the Forbidden City.
Construction of the palace began in the fourth year of the Yongle reign period of the Ming Dynasty (1406), and was completed 14 years later in 1420. It covers an area of 720,000 square meters, and the floorage comes to about 150,000 square meters. The Imperial Palace is composed of the outer and inner palaces. The outer palace consists of the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Hall of Central Harmony and the Hall of Preseving Harmony, where policial activities were held. The Hall of Supreme Harmony was the most important building , where grand ceremonies were held, such as the accession of a new emperor to the throne, the adoption of a new title of a reign, going on an expedition, the emperor's birthday and wedding, and the celebration of the Spring Festival.
The area where the Hall of Heavenly Purity, the Hall of Union and the Hall of Earthly Tranquility are located is the inner palace, where the emperor and his empress resided and handled daily affairs. The other six palaces in the east and west and the Imperial Garden were lived by imperial consorts.
In 1925 the Forbidden City was open to the public and was renamed as the Palace Museum. Now the Palace Museum houses more than one million cultural relics, most of which are rare treasures, ranking first of all the museums in the world. In 1987 it was named as the World Cultural Heritage.
It can be reached by bus Nos. 1, 4, 10 and 20; and trolley bus Nos. 103 and 109.
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