The Forbidden City is a very large complex of pavilions, palaces, gardens and courtyards located in the center of Beijing, the Chinese capital. It is the ancient palace of the emperors of China and as such it was the most sacred place of the country since its construction, in 1420. It was used until the beginning of the XXth century, when the Republic is chasing the last emperor, Pu Yi.
Nowadays it is a huge museum, it is also the largest historical wooden ensemble recognized by UNESCO. It has an inestimable value and is an integral part of the history of China, as it can be the Great Wall (which, nevertheless, had a much lesser historical role).
Map of the forbidden city
The forbidden city has a rectangular shape, its layout is largely symmetrical, although this symmetry is lacking in many places.
In practice we can establish a division of the Forbidden City by zone:
- The Outer court (South entrance, 3 courtyards and 3 palaces)
- The Eastern external annexes (Everything east of the outdoor courtyard)
- The Western external annexes (Everything west of the outdoor courtyard)
- The Inner court (Entrances and private palaces)
- The Imperial garden (Wooded area)
- The Eastern internal annexes (the 6 palaces in the East and other pavilions)
- The Western internal annexes (the 6 palaces in the West and other pavilions)
- The palace of Qianlong (Northeast area)
- The defensive buildings (Moats, walls, watch towers, etc.)
The outer court was the seat of power, it was there that the emperor made his decisions on the country, it is there also where he met the foreign personalities visiting him. The inner courtyard corresponded to the private apartments of the Emperor. Both courtyards were linked to eastern and western annexes, forming the bulk of the palace. But over time the palace underwent some - rare - transformations, with the development of the Imperial Garden, north of the complex, and the Qianlong Palace, at the Northeast corner. Finally we must know that the palace was equipped with many defenses, even if according to the periods they were there only in principle since the place was so revered that people would have thought to attack it. That's what happened anyway during the peasant revolts, but such attacks were rare.
List of the pavilions
In the outer court
In the East outer annexes
In the West outer annexes
In the inner court
In the East inner annexes
In the West inner annexes
In the palace of Qianlong
In the defensives buildings