Located across the road from Tiananmen Square, this immense UNESCO World Heritage Site has many an inner and outer courtyards. The Forbidden City measures 172 acres--as big as 200 soccer fields. If you are without a guide, visit in early in the morning and get an audio headset. The largest palace enclosure in China, it was closed off to the public for the 500 years that it was home to 24 emperors.
In 1911, the last emperor left and the compound was opened to the people. Its new name was Palace City. (The Academy Award-winning movie “The Last Emperor” was filmed here and worth a watch.) Buildings are many and ornate. Though to my disappointment I missed seeing it, a small gallery holds the Clock Museum. With more than 1,000 Chinese- and foreign-made pieces, it is one of the world’s largest collections of mechanical timepieces from the 18th and 19th centuries.
|gate tower entrance to Forbidden City|
|interior courtyard at Forbidden City |
|garden at Forbidden City|
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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers