Our Forbidden City
tour has led us just south of the Three Great Halls.
A little south of the Three Great Halls are two important
areas to the east and to the west. To the west, you will
find the Hall of Martial Valor where the empress received
her female subjects during the Ming Dynasty. During the
Qing Dynasty, the scholars compiled the complete library
of knowledge here. The imperial printing press was also
To the south east of the Three Great Halls, you will find
the Hall of Literary Glory, which was a study for the prince
during Ming Dynasty. Here the Ming and Qing emperors also
attended lectures. Just a little north of here is the Qing
imperial library called the Source of Literature.
Forbidden City's Inner Palace - Three
Going back up north past the Three
Great Halls, you will come up to the Inner Palace, where
the emperor lived with his imperial family. Here, the Palace
of Heaven (Celestial Purity), Hall of Celestial and Terrestrial
Union, and Palace of Terrestrial Tranquility form what's
called the Three Rear Palaces.
The Palace of Heaven (Celestial Purity, QianQingGong)
is the largest palace in the inner court. It is modeled
after the Hall of Supreme Harmony, however, this palace
is a smaller version. During the Qing Dynasty, after the
death of an emperor, his coffin will be placed in this palace
for memorial services lasting a few days.
The Hall of Celestial and Terrestrial Union (JiaoTaiDian)
is a symbol of happy marriage for the emperor and the empress.
It is the smallest of the three palaces. The empress receives
her birthday greetings in this palace.
Palace of Terrestrial Tranquility (KunNingGong)
is the residential palace for the empress during the Ming
and Qing Dynasties.
Forbidden City's Imperial Garden in Beijing
A little north of the Three Rear Palaces is the Imperial
Garden of the Forbidden Palace. It was constructed in 1417,
and covers 12,000 square meters. There is a pavilion at
each of the four corners of the imperial garden symbolizing
the four seasons. The east corner pavilion is the most famous
named The Pavilion of Myriad Springs, and it is the symbol
At the center of the imperial garden is the Hall of Imperial
Peace (Qin Andian). In front of this Hall is a 400 year
old pine tree known as the Consort Pine, and it is a symbol
of the harmony between the emperor and the empress.
Six East and Six West Palaces
Inside the inner palace, there are six palaces to the east,
and six palaces to the west.
The easter six palaces include:
- Palace of Prolonged Happiness (Yanxigong)
- Palace of Eternal Harmony (Yonghegong)
- Palace of Great Benevolence (Jingrengong)
- Palace of Purity (Zhongcuigong)
- Palace of Celestial Favour (Chengqiangong)
- Palace of Great Brilliance (Jingyanggong)
These six palaces stand on the east side of the inner court,
and they also provide living quarters for the concubines
of the emperor.
The western six palaces are:
- Palace of Everlasting Life (Yongshougong)
- Palace of Universal Happiness (Xianfugong)
- Palace for Gathering Elegance (Chuxiugong)
- Palace of the Queen Consort (Yikungong)
- Palace of Eternal Spring (Changchungong)
- Palace of Eternal Longevity (Shouangong)
After you tour the east and west end of the inner court,
you can proceed directly north to exit through the Gate
of Divine Might. On the towers of this gate, there are bells
and drums that are beaten in the morning and evening to
mark time in ancient times.