Passing through the Gate of Heavenly Peace at the north end of Tiananmen Square brings you into the Forbidden City. This UNESCO World Heritage site is currently undergoing a rather extensive renovation and has for quite some time, including the many finely detailed architectural details found on structures throughout the imperial palace grounds.
This renovation extends to some very detailed interior work as well.
The largest of the three halls in the inner court of the Forbidden City is the Palace of Heavenly Purity. This served as the royal reception hall during much of the Qing Dynasty.
Another impressive structure is the Hall of Preserving Harmony. Noticeably smaller than the Palace of Heavenly Purity, this hall was used mostly for practicing upcoming imperial ceremonies.
The Forbidden City has a very long and extensive history, as one would expect of a complex used as an imperial palace for the better part of 500 years. And even after the abdication of the last Qing Dynasty ruler — Emperor Aisin-Gioro Puyi — Emperor Puyi continued to live in and control the inner court until he was finally expelled in 1924. The Forbidden City has officially been a museum since 1925. In all the Forbidden City was home to 14 emperors of the Ming Dynasty and another 10 emperors from the Qing Dynasty during the 493 years it served as an Imperial Palace (1420-1912), and served as a royal residence for 505 years (1420-1924).
Click on any image below to bring up today’s slide show: