Forbidden City - the essence of ancient Chinese palace architecture
What is Forbidden City?
Originally built in 1406 and completed in 1420, the Forbidden City is the royal palace of the Ming(1368 – 1644) and Qing(1644 – 1912) Dynasties in China. It covers an area of 720,000 square meters and has a construction area of about 150,000 square meters. There are more than 70 palaces and more than 9,000 rooms. It is one of the largest and most preserved ancient wooden structures throughout the world.
- Chinese Name: Gugong (故宫)
- Area: 720,000 square meters
- Things to do there: Photography, Architecture, Chinese Culture, Chinese History
- Who visits: Photographers, Travelers, Visitors
- Time required: 1 – 4 x hours
Interested in visiting the Forbidden City on a Beijing Tour?
There are four gates in the Forbidden City, the Wumen Gate in the south, the Shenwu Gate in the north, the Donghua Gate in the east and the Xihua Gate in the west. 76% of the area of Forbidden City has been open to the public since April, 2016.
Visitors can explore various themed halls there, such as Old Buildings Halls, Calligraphy and Paintings Hall, Sculpture Hall, Bronze Ware Hall, and Treasure Hall, etc. Visitors can get acquainted with the history and culture of the royal palaces in the Ming and the Qing Dynasties through its collection, including royal costumes, old books, jades, golden and silver wares, furniture, life appliances and tools for worshiping and so on.
Around 420 pieces of paintings in and before the Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368), 310 pieces of calligraphy in and before the Yuan Dynasty, some 350,000 pieces of porcelain, 1,5000 pieces of bronze ware through the old China, 2,8461 pieces of jade ware are well preserved in the Forbidden City.
Best time to visit the Forbidden City
The best time to visit Forbidden City is in the morning as it is large and it takes around approximately 8 hours to walk around and explore most of the buildings.
How to get to the Forbidden City
The Forbidden City is in the heart of Beijing. Therefore, there are many options.
- Rent a vehicle to Forbidden City. This is the quickest and most direct option. Please note that there is no parking lot in the Forbidden City.
- Take Bus 1, Bus 120, Bus 2, Bus 52, Bus 59, Bus 82, Bus 99, Sightseeing Bus 1 and 2 and Metro 1 to the Stop of Tian’anmen Dong (天安门东站). Walk to the Forbidden City.
- Take Bus 101, Bus 103, Bus 109, Bus 58, Bus 685 and Bus 124 to the Stop of Gugong (故宫站).
Additional Forbidden City Travel Advice
- Opening hours: 08:30 – 17:00 (April 1 – October 31); 08:30 – 16:30 (November 1 – March 31). It is closed on Mondays except the public holidays
- As at 8th October 2020, from April 1 to October 31, the entrance pricing (not including the entrance to Treasure Hall and Clocks and Watches Hall) is 60 CNY per person; from November 1 to March 31, the entrance pricing (not including the entrance to Treasure Hall and Clocks and Watches Hall) is 40 CNY per person; entrance pricing to Treasure Hall is 10 CNY per person; entrance pricing to Clocks and Watches Hall is 10 CNY per person; Children under 1.2m (1.2m not included) is free of charge; the elder above 60 years old (60 years old included) are charged 30 CNY per person from April 1 to October 3 and 20 CNY per person from November 1 to March 31.
- It offers multi-language interpretation service.
- It offers audio-guide.
- Wumen is the only entrance to Forbidden City and Shenwumen is the only exit.
- It is not allowed to smoke in the Forbidden City.
- There are several recommended routes for your reference:
- 2-hour-route: Wumen – Taihemen – Hongyige – Taihedian – Zhonghedian – Baohedian – Qianqingmen – Qianqing Palace – Jiaotaidian – Kunning Palace – Yuhuayuan – Shenwumen
- 2-hour-route: Wumen – Taihemen – Taihedian – Baohedian Xiwu – Baohedian Dongwu – Zhonghedian – Baohedian – Qianqingmen – Qianqing Palace – Jiaotaidian – Kuning Palace – Yuhuayuan – Shenwumen
- Half-day-route (Option 1): Wumen – Wenhuadian (Calligraphy and Painting Hall) – Taihemen – Taihedian – Zhonghedian – Baohedian – Fengxiandian (Clocks and Watches Hall) – Qianqing Palace – Jiaotaidian – Kunning Palace – Yangxindian – Xiliugongqu – Yuhuayuan – Shenwumen;
- Half-day-route (Option 2): Wumen – Wuyingdian – Taihemen – Taihedian – Zhonghedian – Baohedian – Qianqing Palace – Dongliugongqu – Zhaigong – Ningshougongqu Qianchao (Treasure Hall) – Ningshougongqu Houqin (Treasure Hall, Traditional Opera Hall and Zhenfei Well) – Shenwumen
- Full-day-route: Wumen – Wuyingdian – Wenhuadian (Calligraphy and Painting Hall) – Taihemen – Taihedia – Zhonghedian – Baohedian – Qianqing Palace – Jiaotaidian – Kunning Palace – Yangxindian – Xiliugongqu – Yuhuayuan – Dongliugongqu – Fengxiandian (Clocks and Watches Hall) – Ningshougongqu Houqin (Treasure Hall and Traditional Opera Hall) – Shenwumen