The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum. For almost five centuries, it served as the home of the Emperor and his household, as well as the ceremonial and political centre of Chinese government.
Built from 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 surviving buildings with 8,707 bays of rooms and covers 720,000 square metres. The palace complex exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture, and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.
Since 1925, the Forbidden City has been under the charge of the Palace Museum, whose extensive collection of artwork and artifacts were built upon the imperial collections of the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Website: www.dpm.org.cn/english/default.asp; Opening time: Daily 8.30am to 4.30pm (16 October to 15 April); 8.30pm to 5pm (16 April to 15 October); Admission: ¥60 (April to October); ¥40 (November to March)
Tiananmen Square is a modern creation, China being a land where large public gathering places were not traditionally built. Its construction broke down walls of the Forbidden City to make way for the large thoroughfare, Chang'an Jie. Previously Tiananmen Square was occupied by imperial offices which were inside the Forbidden City and connected the Temple of Heaven to Qianmen and the palace. Tiananmen (translated from Chinese: The Gate of Heavenly Peace) is the original gate of the Imperial Palace, commonly known as the Forbidden City. It is now one of the entrances for tourists visiting the Forbidden City.
The Summer Palace
The Summer Palace or Yihe yuan; literally "Gardens of Nurtured Harmony" is mainly dominated by Longevity Hill (60 meters high) and the Kunming Lake. It covers an expanse of 2.9 square kilometers, three quarters of which is water. The central Kunming Lake covering 2.2 square kilometers was entirely man made and the excavated soil was used to build Longevity Hill. In its compact 70,000 square meters of building space, one finds a variety of palaces, gardens, and other classical-style architectural structures.
Transport: Buses 907, 375, 801, 808, 732, 394 or 718; Opening time: Daily 7am to 5pm (November to March), 6.30am to 6pm (April to October); Admission: ¥25 (November to March), ¥35 (April to October)