I have attached some shots of the Forbidden City that I toured as part of the Leaders Course in Beijing. Besides the fascinating history of the City which is nearly 700 years old its sheer size is amazing. It covers 178 acres so in a few hours we were only able to see a small part of the City.
For the students in my schools that is 59 times the size of the school.
I am pictured outside the first of 3 main gates that one enters before going into the Forbidden City. The first main gate, which has a large mural of Mao Zedong , faces Tiananmen Square where on a quiet day a 3 hour queue forms to see his entombed body.
The third and main gate pictured behind me is known as Wumen Gate where the emperor announced the coming years festivities.
There are 3 main palaces (some featured in the pictures) inside the Forbidden City where the emporer conducted business and held special ceremonies.
24 emperors lived and reigned for over 600 years in the City. Our tour guide really gave us the sense that the Forbidden City represents a period when China was considered by many as the main economic, cultural and financial power of the world. Many people from around China make a pilgrimage to this ancient city and while unspoken it’s easy to see that how they might think that its only time until China resumes its former held position.
I was in awe of the many of the palaces inside the city and how well its been restored. The colours in the palaces are vibrant red and yellow and the rock gardens are kept in tranquil order. You certainly get a feel for the order and splendor of the place and I’m keen to get a copy of the last film ever made in the City, “The Last Emperor”.