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Forbidden city layout

1, Why build the Forbidden city in Beijing?

Story dates back to the First emperor in Ming dynasty, Zhuyuanzhang, He is originally from a very poor peasant family, When he was 14 years old, all of his parents passed away, So he have to took a tonsure and became a Buddhist monk, at that time, it is Yuan dynasty, the rulers were all from Mongolia, They levy very heave tax on the people in Middle kingdom and treat people badly, In 1355, when Zhuyuanzhang was 25 years old, China suffering from a national wide famine due to natural disaster, In order to survive, people began to uprising, Zhu joined red turban peasant uprising army and later on he was elected as chief leader. in 1368, He took his army to conquer the city of Beijing and announce himself as the first emperor of Ming dynasty, as his hometown is faraway from Beijing, He decided to build his palaces in Nanjing instead of Beijing.
As his oldest son died early, Zhuyuanzhang’s throne was succeeded by his first grand son, Zhuyunwen, He was only 20 years old at that time and short of experience in commanding army, He was trying to weaken the forces of his uncle, but was met with very strong counter strikes, 2 years later, He was over throne and no one knew his whereabouts. Some historical book wrote that he died in west golden hills in the suburb of Nanjing and be buried there.
His 12th uncle-Zhudi took over the throne,  He was a very ambitious emperor, and was originally the prince of “yan”, Yan refers to the region’s name of today’s Beijing, He decided to move the capital from Nanjing to Beijing, He organized a team of Geomancers for the selection of best site for imperial palace, and was finally reported that the former site of Yuan’s palace is the best choice, the Fengshui master told him that under the original site of Yuan’s palace there is a vein of dragon which can secure the imperial palace and bring the monarchy good luck in the future, More over, there is a small hill on the north end as the screen to comply the requirements of Chinese Fengshui. Today if you have chance to step on the top of Jingshan hill, You are still available to see this vein of dragon, it is now the central axis way that divided Beijing in to west city and east city.

 2,Construction principle

The construction of Forbidden City is strictly comply with the principle of imperial construction recorded in the ancestral book “Zhou Li·Kao Gong Ji”
Outer court in the front
Market at the back
Ancestral temple to the left
God of land & Grain altar to the right

3, Layout:

The Forbidden city is rectangular in shape, 971 meters long from north to south and 753 meter’s from east to west, and it covers total area of 72 hectares and equals the size of 100 football pitch or 100 white house.

The Forbidden city has 4 gates:

South gate-the meridian gate, where the emperor’s imperial edicts were issued.
North gate- the gate of imperial genius, where the servant and guardian enter and exit for their daily service.
East flowery gate-where the high ranking official enter and exit to imperial court.
West flowery gate-where the coffin of died emperor transport away from Forbidden city.

This huge building complex is divided into 5 sections:

Outer court -where the imperial ceremony were held such as succession ceremony.
Palaces at outer court: Hall of supreme harmony, Hall of complete harmony, Hall of preserving harmony.
Inner court – where the emperor rest and sleep.
Palaces at inner court: Palace of Heavenly Purity  , Hall of Union , and the Palace of Earthly Tranquility
East 6 palaces-where the prince to sleep and receive education
Palace of Great Benevolence
Palace of Celestial Favour
Palace of Accumulated Purity
Palace of Great Brilliance
Palace of Eternal Harmony
Palace of Prolonging Happiness
West 6 palaces-where the concubines and empress dowager rest and sleep
Palace of Eternal Longevity
Palace of Earthly Honor
Palace of Gathered Elegance
Palace of Universal Happiness
Palace of Etermal Spring
Imperial garden-where the emperor make entertainment and select the new concubines

4, When did the Forbidden city constructed and how long it takes to complete it.

The construction of the Forbidden city started from 1406 and ended by 1420, it is about 70 years before the Columbus discover America and 140 years before the birth of William Shakespeare.

5, How many rooms are there in the Forbidden city?

There is an old saying in the Forbidden city refers to this questions, suppose you were born in one of it’s rooms and you wanted to stay in different room every night, You would be 27 years old at the end of this experience, to be exact, there are as many as 9999 rooms in the whole complex.

6, Outer wall of Forbidden city

 The Forbidden city was surrounded by huge city walls, it is 10 meter high and rectangular in shape, the bottom of the wall is 2 meters wider than the top making it stronger and more difficult to climb over it, You might be surprised that even after 600 years the wall of the Forbidden city were still looks dense, strong and smooth, this is because our ancestor use a kind of special material to cement the bricks of the wall together, they are mixture of glutinous rice and egg whites.
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