Imperial China, The Yangtze River & Tibet
May, 2007 an OAT Tour

Imperial Beijing - The Forbidden City

Dragon stamped on every roof tile   

The Forbidden City

The Dragon Throne in the Hall of Supreme Harmony

The Forbidden City, like all of China is huge. Unfortunately it is comprised mostly of empty buildings which you can not go into. I guess I found this to be a big difference between China and the European buildings we have visited. Even when there was something to see it was poorly displayed and close up access for photographs were difficult. Maybe it has to do with the number of people who go through the scene but I suspect it has more to do with the Communist mentality of destroying anything that has to do with the old empire. It was evident that there was a lot of work being done to make the buildings presentable to the world because of the upcoming Olympics. The wooden exteriors had lots of bright colors which appeared to be fresh paint.

The Forbidden City was the home of the 24 Emperors of China for 500 years. The huge palace was completed in 1420 and represented the center of the Chinese universe. The palace was the exclusive domain of the imperial court until the 1920s and was opened to the public in 1949. It was said that once anyone entered the Forbidden City he never came out. All of China was regulated from this spot with couriers bring messages in and sending them out to all areas of the empire.

The Walled city is a rectanglular out on a north to south axis with the length divided by several gates and Halls each one of which is more restrictive. The main gate to each hall is reserved exclusively for the Emperor and they are guarded by Chinese Lions.

Tia'an Men

Enter the Forbidden City under the portruit of Mao on Tian'an Men 
- Gate of Heavenly Peace

You cross one of three bridges to get to Tian'an Men Communist Chinese symbol over Tian'an Men

Chairman Mao looks down as you go through the first gate into 
the Forbidden City Soldiers standing at attention in front of Tian'an Men give it an 
aura of reverence

So much it overwhelms a small child Chairman Mao sees everyone who goes into the Forbidden City

Disciplined soldiers adds reverance to the site Soldiers on a mission

Meridian Gate

As you pass through the arches of Tian'an Men you see the Meridian Gate The outer court has the most massive walls

A wedding is taking place above the Meridian Gate Impressive colorful geometric designs on the gate

Pass through the Meridian Gate into the Emperor's private rehlm Roof decorations

Drill team From this balcony on the Meridian Gate the emperor would review
his armies and perform ceremonies marking the start of a new calendar

Gate of Supreme Harmony

The third gate is the Gate of Supreme Harmony

Gate of Supreme Harmony closed Cross this bridge to go to the Gate of Supreme Harmony Gate of Supreme Harmony under renovation for the Olympics

Roof lines with painted beams Our introduction to the roof guardians, the more guardians, the 
more important the person who occupies this building

Hall of Supreme Harmony

You know you are at the Throne of the Dragon Five marble bridges, the center one reserved exclusively for 
the Emperor, symbolize the cardinal virtures of Confucianism

Hall of Supreme Harmony closed for renovation for the Olympics Sophie gives more information than anyone can remember

The middle bridge may only be used by the Emperor Marble ramp for Emperor's feet only

A side passage through the Gate of Supreme Harmony

Hall of Middle Harmony

Dragon Throne is normally in the Hall of Supreme Harmony but 
since it is under repairs it has been temporarily moved to the Hall of Middle Harmony

Staicase going up to the Hall of Middle Harmony Staircase to Hall of Middle Harmony

Hall of Preserving Harmony

Only in the Forbidden City did the buildings have four sided roofs Can you find Diana, our Program Director?

Hall of Preserving Harmony Roof beams

Bronze cauldrons held water to put out fires

Roof guardian to protect building from fire Hall of Preserving Harmony

So much information, so much to see, so little time

Depiction of Ceremony

Ceremony at Gate of Supreme Harmony

Colorful beams The Emperor lives here

Gate of Hevenly Purity

Gate of Heavenly Purity Roof guardians with Emperor in the front Female bronze lion with cub under foot

The cub under female lion's foot Male bronze lion with globe under his foot

Male bronze lion in front of Gate of Heavenly Purity Looking back across the Golden Water Looking through Gate of Supreme Harmony

Concubine Quarters

Gate to Concubine's quarters

Gate to concubine's quarters guarded by bronze lions Colorful designs on wooden beams

The front gate to the concubines' quarters Concubines' quarters

Little girl Painted wooden beams

Inside room of concubines' quarters Ceiling decoration above Dragon's Throne

Bed in concubines' quarters Roof guardians

He will draw your likeness (almost) on a plate.

Palace Gardens

Imperial gardens Imperial gardens

Rock formation in Imperial gardens Elephant statue in Imperial gardens

Gate to the Imperial gardens A moat surrounds three sides of the Forbidden City

We attended a book fair after lunch

Index to all China 2007 Adventures:

The following pages are still under construction
so be patient and come back to watch its growth.

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This page was created by Bob "Belli" Frazee

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