The Forbidden City — Part 1


Forbidden City Panorama 1

Forbidden City Panorama

Today and Wednesday I’ll be taking you on a guided tour of the Forbidden City, along with the help of Ursula and of course our ever-capable, ever-friendly, ever fascinating tour guide Mao Gui “Jim” Chen of that wonderful and affordable company China Spree.  We’ll finish up on Friday with my favorite photographs of this massive 7,800,000 square-foot/720,000 square meter, 980-building complex in the heart of Beijing.

Forbidden City 072

Forbidden City 072

As you’ll recall from last week our first day of touring was a long one, and it started out in bitter, skin-stinging cold.  We started out visiting Tiananmen square, traversed this week’s subject — the Forbidden City — and continued with a rickshaw ride to a wonderful luncheon.

Forbidden City 001

Forbidden City 001

What you don’t know is that we weren’t done yet.  We continued into the afternoon with a trip to Beihai Park (which I’ll show you next week) and well into the evening with an authentic and very delicious Peking Duck dinner.  We didn’t fall into bed until sometime around an exhausting 10:00 P.M that night.

Forbidden City 013

Forbidden City 013

The Forbidden City is built between 1406 and 1420 as the imperial palace of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The Forbidden City would also later serve the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) in the same capacity.

Forbidden City 064

Forbidden City 064

By the way, it took 1,000,000 workers to build this extraordinary complex over that 14-year period from 1406 to 1420.  I find that simply incredible, but when you look at the details you begin to understand that many of that number must have been craftsmen rather than just construction workers.

Forbidden City 062

Forbidden City 062

One of the more nifty elements in the Forbidden City are the many iron and copper kettles located throughout.  They were placed there to function as early fire hydrants, holding water to use in case a blaze erupted somewhere inside the complex.

Forbidden City Fire Hydrant

Forbidden City Fire Hydrant

I’ll have more on the history of this imperial fantasy land on Wednesday.  Until then just click on any image in the gallery below to start today’s slide show:

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