Visit of the Forbidden City of Beijing - China
The Forbidden City is in Beijing (Beijing) one of the most important air hubs in Asia. So you will have no trouble finding a cheap flight to China: about 500 €
The Forbidden City is still located in the center of today's modern city of Beijing.
Access: Metro Line 1 (Red) at East Tian'anmen or Tian'anmen West.
Opening hours: 8h30 - 17h (closing of the counters at 16h)
Rates: entrance 7,5 € (= 60 Yuan), audioguide 5 € (= 40 Yuan)
The quick history of the Forbidden City
The forbidden city is not as old as one could imagine. The work began in 1406, about the same time as Machu Picchu in Peru to have a point of comparison.
When the Ming Dynasty came to power in China in 1368, it decided to transfer its capital from Nanjing to Beijing on the site of the ancient Mongolian imperial city Khanbalik. This allowed them to more easily monitor the actions of their newly conquered rivals.
trone quote forbidden
The Forbidden City was built in just 14 years, but it took 200,000 workers to complete this titanic architectural work.
Materials were shipped from all corners of the empire: Beijing stones, Shanghai marble, Yunan and Sichuan wood, and Shandong bricks.
The Forbidden City measures 960m long by 750m wide and the surrounding walls surrounding the city are 12m high.
Inaugurated in 1420, it will be the seat of 14 Ming emperors (1420-1644) then 10 emperors Qing (1644-1912). Puyi, the last Qing emperor, abdicated in 1912 against the uprising of the communists. It is also this part of the story that is traced in the film "the last emperor"
The Forbidden City has partially burned several times. The fires were often triggered by eunuchs or courtiers who made money from the reconstruction work.
It was also razed once by the Manchus in 1644, who rebuilt it with the "touch" of the new dynasty. Most of the buildings that can be seen today date back to the 18th century.
In 1947, during the invasion of Japan into China, all the treasures that filled the forbidden city were transferred to Taiwan, to the National Palace Museum.
My arrival in Beijing and the Forbidden City
I begin to arrive on the end of my journey in China. 1 month to cross the country from South to North, from Yunnan to Sichuan to finally arrive in the capital of the Chinese empire and visit its most emblematic monument: the Forbidden City!
Honestly at the beginning, I was disappointed by China but that's my fault because I had some expectations / images in mind before coming and you should never have any when traveling. Take what he comes!
entry quote forbidden beijing
And even if during this trip I was often disconcerted by their habits and their hygiene, I could especially realize from inside what was really the new world overpower. I was also stunned several times by its fantastic places: the rice fields of YuanYang, the giant Buddha of Leshan or the Zhangjiaje National Park ...
Moreover, it is from the mythical city of Xian, the former capital of the country that I take the night train to Beijing (Beijing). I leave from Xian images full of the eyes of my visit of the army of the terracotta soldiers to visit the other great symbolic place of the country: the forbidden city!
inner court quote forbidden that to do in China
Trains in China are a very good way to get around. Reliable, clean (when people do not spit on the carpet) and frequent. They are however not as cheap as one might imagine.
For a 8h / 10h trip by night train Xian> Beijing, I paid about 60 €
I was in my very nice hostel in Xian (if there is something almost always top in China, that's it! They are clean, equipped and not too expensive) and I was about to leave to take the train to Beijing.
There my English friend Chris says very wisely
"We took everything? we are in time? we have the tickets? "
and there I answer him "yes, yes, no .... "
and he said to me "how's that yes, yes, no ?? "
Well then I realize that I can not get my hands back on my train ticket. Knowing that in China, we must always book in advance because the population otherwise everything is complete, not to find my ticket, meant not to leave here before 3 or 4 days!
There my friend Chris tells me "it's not won for the Forbidden City! ^^ "... ..Thank you Chris!
mozaic dragon relief relief forbidden beijing
I start looking everywhere, impossible to get my hands on it. I make all my pockets of bags and clothes ... nothing! And here I have a flash!
I see myself the night before, empty my pockets of paper, tickets and stuff useless in any kind in the trash: OK, I ask the girl of the home to open the room (I made the checkout) , I look in the trash ... .more nothing! she had been emptied !!
The pressure began to rise and the departure time was getting closer!
I explain the situation, she calls the cleaning lady who was not far away and she asks where are the garbage bags of the dormitories. She takes me outside the door and points to me a big pile of trash bags! ... Well no choice, this is the only track I have ...
I start to open the trash bags one by one and the housekeeper, in her great generosity (she must have a little pity of me too), also helps me. I find a suspense train ticket, I unfold it, return it, look: it's not mine! Ohhhh! emotional lift !!
main building forbidden city beijing
We continue for another 5min, I start seriously to doubt my flash "trash", when suddenly, I start to find things that seem familiar in one of the bags. I put my hand on another train ticket and this time: it's good !!!!
I'm so happy and I'm jumping for joy so sober that you can imagine me doing it interns ^^
The air of nothing, this lady has just saved me 3 or 4 days of waiting and 60 € train ticket. I do not like doing this usually, but there was not enough time to do anything else, I plunged my hand into the pocket and gave him the cash I had in my pocket, about 5 to 10€.
And the best part is that she thanked me with a look like "it was not worth it, I did not do it for that". And Bim, another lesson of humanity in the mouth, one!
We are reassured and ready to go with Chris, who was also starting to see the forbidden city far away ^^
My opinion on the Forbidden City in Beijing
The Forbidden City is China's second best-known monument (at least in the West) after the Great Wall. It is therefore essential for me to visit it because I like to understand why things are so famous or cause as much admiration.
But as many sites as Machu Picchu, or Petra, really mesmerized me, so much the Forbidden City left me emotionally marble.
I imagine that the natural surroundings that surround the 2 sites above play a lot on the mystical atmosphere that reigns there. The Forbidden City is in the middle of one of the largest cities in the world.
Beware, the forbidden city is still really impressive in terms of architecture, works of art and artistic precision. BUT I found the place cold and austere. However, the crowd of tourists who engulfed every day (which I am part of), should warm the atmosphere ^^ ... apparently no.
It is true that when we walk in this gigantic royal palace that is more reminiscent of a city in the city than a palace, we are really appreciative of the scale of the buildings built and stone structures made. On the other hand, I had the feeling of visiting a simple museum, very beautiful indeed, and not a former mythical place where so many important and decisive events happened.
small inner courtyard quoted forbidden
This is really the regret I had coming out of this visit: the place is beautiful but not magical.
For the rest, we learn a lot about the operation of the forbidden city, its anecdotes, its customs and its history thanks to audio-guides.
So I obviously recommend going to visit this must-see monument, which I think is missing only this little thing that makes all the difference!