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Chinese Culture >> Chinese Society Traditions

The Palace in the Forbidden City

China has definitely awakened. Over the last few centuries the Chinese Empire seemed quiet and withdrawn; however China is definitely making a comeback and for the last several decades has grown at a breakneck speed economically and politically. The Chinese have an incredibly rich history dating back to the beginning of human civilization. For thousands of years the Chinese Culture, philosophy and history have been a great resource to the rest of the world. One of these great historical achievements that are pretty much still a mystery to those in the West is China's Forbidden City.

The Forbidden City The
Forbidden City might sound like a formidable fortress, which it does have aspects of, but it is also includes one of the largest and most beautiful palaces the world has ever seen. The name the Forbidden City is supposed to stoke intrigue and mystery. It was called the Forbidden City due to the fact that no person could either leave the city or enter it without the consent of the emperor. Amazingly, for centuries, this structure has stood and the interior was a closely guarded secret until just a few decades ago.

Forbidden City is the Largest Palace in the World While the Forbidden City still contains many mysteries, the impression it made around the world was that of the largest palace to ever stand. The Forbidden City, built during the 15th century with a labor force rivaling one million strong (including over 100,000 artisans) has an incredible 9,999 rooms and an astonishing one million pieces of art- many of them priceless.

The Forbidden City originally served as the seat for the Ming Dynasty and it was completed in 1420. However, throughout the years over 24 emperors have called it home- the last emperor ruled from the Forbidden City up until 1912.

The Once Forbidden City is Now Open for All to See The interior of the Forbidden City is no longer a closely guarded secret. In fact, it recently became a museum and about 30 years ago, it was opened for all to see- including foreigners. Now opened, this historic palace has been designated a World Heritage Site. Millions have visited her and as it is located in Beijing it was a huge attraction during the 2008 Olympics. For those that are fascinated by this palace, the Smithsonian Magazine offers an incredibly insightful article.

About the Author Smithsonian magazine is a monthly magazine created for modern, well-rounded individuals with diverse interests. It chronicles the arts, history, sciences and popular culture of the times. Each month, expect articles from the Smithsonian Institution's award-winning, monthly general interest magazine, plus exclusive Web articles, videos, blogs, photographs and more