One of the largest palatial structure in the world, The Forbidden City is definitely a reflection to China’s past grandeur once home to Ming and Qing dynastic Emperors since it’s first creation in the 15th century. The former Imperial city today the palace Museum epitomizes the supremacy of imperial power – a city within a city with secular and military architecture covering 74 hectares of land surrounded by more than 50 metres wide moat encompassing some majestic halls, entrance gates and royal pavilions. Like many great dynastic lineages that of the Forbidden City somewhat reminds me of the great Ottoman empire and the creation of the fabulous Topkapi palace in Istanbul. It might not be as gigantic as that of the Forbidden City, but political intrigues and stories of the inner chambers relating to eunuchs, princes and princesses are as impressive. One of the stories I enjoyed reading about Topkapi and the Ottoman splendours is perhaps that of Noel Barber’s historic novel “Lords of the golden Horn”. Rebellion, conspiracy and assassinations are part of life within the palace wall of the Forbidden City, from its founding till the last rulers. One story tell of the last Ming emperor Chongzhen who hanged himself on Jingshan Hill the imperial garden following the capture of the city by Li Zicheng, leader of the pheasant rebels. Another story which has been often fictionalized in novels is that of the rise of the royal concubine Cixi to the height of becoming the Empress Dowager, the Opium wars, the Taiping rebellion and the Boxers or the sad story of the “royal prisoner” Pu Yi the last Qing emperor who abdicated in 1922. The palace grounds is spacious and walking around the city do give you that feeling of magnificence with long walks from one pavilion to another. The pavilions are elegantly designed and so is the overall structure of the palatial complex requiring hundreds of craftsmen to build the city, laying the grounds for palatial constructions each conveys to its particular imperial symbolism based on numerology and traditional colours ranging from black, red, yellow, green and white.
The enigmatic and imposing Forbidden City
My visit continues while admiring some beautifully carved lintels decorating red gold coloured gates enhancing royal pavilions.
The Forbidden city is truly a maze of some impressive buildings and gardens – silent witnesses to the glorious past of emperors and empresses of China.
After some hours lingering within the fabulous walls of the Forbidden City, I left the palace through the famous eastern glorious gates facing Tienanmen square.
Categories: Forbidden City