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Dimensions of the forbidden city


The forbidden city is very large, the rectangular area that it occupies takes a good part of downtown Beijing. If we consider the moat as part of the Forbidden City, and there is no reason not to do so, it is 1120m long by 910m wide, or 102 hectares. But often we take into account the complex only from the walls. In this case, the Forbidden City measures 960m by 750m, an area of 72 hectares "only". For comparison, the Taj Mahal is 580 x 305m (18 hectares), and the latter is mostly composed of gardens. Here, the complex is made of a multitude of buildings, it is a real city in the city that was built in the fifteenth century.


Some dimensions

Inside the Forbidden City there are many buildings, but few are really big, they are rather modest in size, even the Emperor's quarters. It is the highest harmony pavilion which is the largest: 60.1 meters wide, 33.33 meters deep and 35.05 meters high. We do not speak of length because often these halls are presented transversely, not longitudinally. The second longest is the room of the emperor, the palace of Celestial Purity. It is 50m x 30m. The smaller the buildings, the smaller they are, most of them only 15 to 20m wide.

The courses are interesting too. Approximately square, that of the private part of the Emperor measures 80m side. The large yard from the outside is the largest, it measures 200m side, a few things. Finally the first court, that of the river with golden waters, measures 140m by 200m. These large esplanades were intended to impress the visitors of the emperor.

The 3 main pavilions, those in the outdoor courtyard, are on an 8m high terrace. This terrace is 85 000m 2 alone, which is still considerable.


Boards of the dimensions

Here is a summary table of the dimensions of the forbidden city.


Total length: (with moats) 1,12Kms
Total length: (without moats) 960m
Total width: (with moats) 910m
Total width: (without moats) 750m
Area (with moats) 1 010 000 m2
Area (without moats) 720 000 m2

This table gives the dimensions of the large areas of the complex.


Dimension of the outer court 600m x 230m
Dimension of the inner court 220m x 120m
Dimension of the palace of Qianlong 410m x 120m
Dimension of the imperial gardens 140m x 90m
Dimension of the meridian gate 120m x 120m


See also:

Description of the forbidden city




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