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Beijing Forbidden City

Forbidden City Tour - South of Three Great Halls

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 positioned here.

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 Rear Palaces

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 for spring.

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:

  1. Palace of Prolonged Happiness (Yanxigong)
  2. Palace of Eternal Harmony (Yonghegong)
  3. Palace of Great Benevolence (Jingrengong)
  4. Palace of Purity (Zhongcuigong)
  5. Palace of Celestial Favour (Chengqiangong)
  6. 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:

  1. Palace of Everlasting Life (Yongshougong)
  2. Palace of Universal Happiness (Xianfugong)
  3. Palace for Gathering Elegance (Chuxiugong)
  4. Palace of the Queen Consort (Yikungong)
  5. Palace of Eternal Spring (Changchungong)
  6. 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.

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