Forbidden City

After walking through the Tiananmen Gate, we entered the Outer Court of the Forbidden City and saw the Meridian Gate, the southern entrance to the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City started being built in 1406 and was completed in 1420, employing 1 million workers. Twenty–four emperors from the Ming and Qing Dynasties ruled from here, for almost 500 years, until the empire was dissolved in 1912. During the time that it served as the Imperial Court, the public was not allowed in it; hence, the name The Forbidden City. The Forbidden City encompasses 7,800,000 square feet––it is huge. There are 980 surviving buildings and 8,707 bays of rooms. I tried to name as many buildings that I could, but I may have gotten a few of them incorrect as the architecture throughout is similar.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

To the left, with towers on top of the walls. Part of the Outer Court which was used for ceremonies.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

To the right.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Panda–hatted school girls on an outing. I saw these same hats for sale in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles a few months ago. They are very popular in China.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Closer–up of the panda hats.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

We walked through the Meridian Gate. In front of us was the Gate of Supreme Harmony. There were many gates in the Forbidden City, a system to ward off evil spirits––evil spirits cannot go around corners. There was much slippery snow on the ground and on the stairs. On the stairs, I held onto Saieu and sometimes Leng––thank you Saieu and Leng. I really was afraid of slipping on the stairs. Anyway, our whole tour group avoided slipping and sliding along the way and there were no broken bones.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

To the left of the Gate of Supreme Harmony.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

To the right of the Gate of Supreme Harmony. If you visit the Forbidden City on your own and also on a snowless day, you may want to spend some time walking around the perimeters of the squares. Plan on a trip of many hours.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Looking back on the Meridian Gate. Right in front of the gate there are five marble bridges here, symbolizing the five cardinal virtues of Confucianism.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Walking to the Gate of Supreme Harmony.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Male lion at the right of the Gate of Supreme Harmony. The male lion is recognized by having a ball under its foot (or somewhere else on the statute).

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Female lion on the left of the gate. She has a baby under her foot. The lions ward off evil spirits.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Walking up to the Gate of Supreme Harmony.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Ceiling of the Gate of Supreme Harmony.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

After walking through the Gate of Supreme Harmony, we were looking at this incredible view: The Hall of Supreme Harmony. We are now in the Inner Court, the residence of the emperors. Many steep slippery steps here.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

The Hall of Supreme Harmony.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Close–up of the art work on the Hall of Supreme Harmony.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Inside the Hall of Supreme Harmony. Not much to see from this opening, but I found some photos on the Internet of more elaborate things to see through other openings. However, I don’t think any of us walked around the outside of the hall because of the slippery conditions.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Looking backward to the Gate of Supreme Harmony.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Turtle statue in front of the Hall of Supreme Harmony.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Bird statue in front of the Hall of Supreme Harmony.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Used for storing oil.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Used for water storage in case of fire.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

For measuring grain.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Looking backward on another gate we just walked through.

Forbidden City

Great Wall of China

I found this coffee shop at the bottom and had a cup of coffee and packaged cookies. The Professors joined me. There was also a large souvenir store here to buy T–shirts (“I Climbed the Great Wall of China” ones), etc.

Great Wall of China

Forbidden City

Close–up of the gate.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

The Hall of Central (or Middle) Harmony is in the foreground. I think, but am not sure, that the building behind it is the Hall of Preserving Harmony. This is where I got somewhat turned around.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

View to the right.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

View to the left.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Dragons and symbols of water on top of the eaves. All are supposed to protect from fires.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Closer–up, though taken from a different angle.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Even closer–up.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

A large dragon.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

At the front, taken at another location. I like the snow on it.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Looking forward to the right.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Looking forward to the left.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Another gate to walk through.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

We are in either the Eastern or Western Palace Area––I go more with Eastern.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Closer –up view of the back gate in the last photo. The pavilion in the far right of the photo is not part of the Forbidden City. It is in Jing Shan Park, north of the Forbidden City. I went with Leng and Saieu to that park a couple of days later.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Close–up of the Wachun Ting Pavilion in Jing Shan Park.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

One of the many palaces in the Forbidden City.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Right side of a palace room.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

The left side of the same room.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

The following palace rooms were behind glass.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

A palace room.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

A palace room.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

A palace room.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

A palace room.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Off to the Imperial Gardens.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Inside the Imperial Gardens.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Inside the Imperial Gardens. Large rock formations are seen in the Chinese gardens.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

The panda girls have joined us.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Inside the Imperial Gardens. The gardens are supposed to be quite beautiful in the warmer months when everything is in bloom.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Inside the Imperial Gardens.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Inside the Imperial Gardens.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Close–up of the roof of the pavillion.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Inside the Imperial Gardens. Another pavilion.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Inside the Imperial Gardens. A frozen river.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Tea house in the Imperial Gardens.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Outside the Imperial Gardens.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Another gate.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Looking back at the final gate––the Gate of Divine Prowess, the northern gate of the Forbidden City.

Forbidden City