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Published: October 12th 2016
Buildings and large open areas
This is the classic view of the Forbidden City. The large open areas and buildings in the distance
With 14 million visitors each year the Forbidden City is not so forbidden anymore
Last year Ake's mother, Britt-Marie, turned 70. Ake's birthday gift to her was a week in Beijing. Emma could not come along on this journey so Britt-Marie and Ake went by themselves. Here is the first blog entry from this trip and it is about our visit to the Palace Museum or, as it is better known as, the Forbidden City.
We arrived in the morning to the front gate and already then the queues were long. But the staff at the ticket office were efficient so we only had to stay in line a short while before we could go in. We started the visit by climbing up the Tiananmen Gate, which you pass when you visit the Forbidden City but isn't a part of the museum. Before we went up there we had to leave our bags in a locker room. The reason is simple: Tianmen Gate faces Tiananmen Square. Tiananmen Square is a very exposed and a very symbolic public place. The Chinese authorities do not under any circumstances want to see any protests there. It is easier
Palace buildings are impressive
The palace buildings are impressive
to ban all bags than to seach each one for banners or other unwanted materal.
Less than half of the palace is open to the public. But still it is so large and there is so much to take in that we spent the better part of a day on our visit there. One advantage with the Forbidden City being very large is that in spite of the great many visitors each day it isn't as crowded as you might expect. Also, many tourists visit the Forbidden City as part of a group. When a group passes by it gets very crowded for a few minutes. But once they have passed you might find that you have the site pretty much by yourself.
We walked from entrance in the south to the exit in the north. There really isn't very much to say about the visit other than that we both enjoyed it there very much even though it was a hot day.
A few things about the palace:
• On every roof there are decorations in the shape of small figures. They were not just decorations. It was believed
A royal throne in one of the buildings
that the figures would prevent the building from being struck by lightning.
• The buildings in the Forbidden City are all built using wood. More than once there has been devestating fires destroying buildings.
• All over the palace there are large containers. These containers used to hold water to be used to put out fires.
• The Forbidden City is a world heritage site.
• There is a clock museum in one of the buidings in the Palace. The clocks on display were once used in the palace and many of them are priceless works of art
• When they dug the moat around the palace the excavated soil was deposited just north of the palace. The soil was used to create a small hill there, a hill from which it is possible to get a very nice birds eye view of the palace.
After we had visited the Forbidden City we went to a restaurant and had dinner. We finished this, the first day in Beijing, by visiting Jingshan Park just north of the Forbidden City and the hill I mentioned before, the one made from soil dug up when
14 million visitors each year
With 14 million visitors each year you might think it gets crowded. Surprisingly enough is is not as bad as you might expect. Look at the picture. It could be a lot worse, right?
creating the palace moat. In the evening sun the Forbidden City is very impressive.
For those who are interested in statistics: The Forbidden City sees around 14 million visitors each year making it the most visited museum in the world. The area enclosed within the walls surrounding the palace is, at more than 700 meters wide and 1,000 meters long, larger than any other palace in the world.
This is all for now. Hope you enjoyed it
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