UCASer visit the Forbidden City

  • CAO Zhihong
  • Published: 2024-03-02
  • 4294


The Forbidden City is one of the most famous Chinese cultural heritages which contains various Chinese arts and wisdoms. Recently, in an activity of UCAS (University of Chinese Academy of Sciences) course "China Panorama", students visited the Forbidden City to delve into traditional Chinese culture. This activity is held under a UCAS cultural project named "Hello, China" Blue Ribbon Project.

As the largest surviving ancient palace complex and the best-preserved ancient palace building group in China's history, the Forbidden City was one of the top Chinese cultural sites recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO. The Forbidden City building has both profound historical value and distinctive artistic value, as a result, cultural journeys to the Forbidden City is one of the essential contents for the course and the cultural project. Every year, Prof. CAO Zhihong, head of the "Hello, China" Blue Ribbon Project and one of the teachers of the course China Panorama for international students, organizes culture journeys and introduces Chinese history and culture to UCAS international students.

With engaging and lively explanations in classroom, a 3-meter-long 3D palace model displaying on the desk and on-site visiting, this is how international students at UCAS learn about Chinese palace architecture culture and step into the Forbidden City.

The combination of classroom teaching and field investigation has left a deep impression on international students. The cultural tour of the Forbidden City allowed them to deeply appreciate the vastness and profoundness of Chinese culture, as well as the ingenuity and excellence of Chinese craftsmanship.

“Passing through the gate and stepping into the vast expanse of the Forbidden City felt like crossing into an era which symbolizing balance and harmony”, Pakistani PhD freshman Asma Sabir said, “visiting the Forbidden City in Beijing was an experience of a lifetime. The majestic architecture, rich historical buildings and the mystery that shrouded its past was enough to ensure that my visit to this iconic cultural landmark would be etched in my memory forever.”

Asma Sabir visiting the Forbidden City

International student Yousaf Khan said: “Visiting the Forbidden City in Beijing was an experience that felt like stepping through the pages of history. As we walked through the vast complex of palaces and gardens, it was impossible not to be awed by the sheer scale and beauty of this architectural marvel. This trip was not only educational but also a feast for the senses, and we are grateful for our teacher's efforts in organizing this memorable excursion.”

Yousaf Khan introducing the knowledge he have learnt about the Forbidden City

During the whole journey, Ghulam Raza was totally indulged into the beauty of the palace. As he wrote in his trip diary: “The Forbidden City wasn't simply a place from the past; it was a colorful weaving of life. This trip went above and beyond what we learned in our China Panorama session. We'd like to express our gratitude to the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS) that helped to make this trip possible.” 

Ghulam Raza Khan visiting the Forbidden City

Shah Faisal with the Chinese name 沙飞 was very proud that he remembered so many knowledge about the Forbidden City, for example, the names of the 3 court halls are Tianhedian太和殿, Zhonghedian中和殿 and Baohedian保和殿; the vats in front of the hall were used for safety; there were 81(9 × 9) buttons on the Wumen Gate which symbolizes the emperor's authority, etc..

Shah Faisal introducing the 3 court halls

Ghazala Latif regarded that China's history is very old, and it is a matter of great honor that China still preserves it.

Ghazala Latif visiting the Cforbidden City

Both Muhammad Umar Mushtaq and Saad Ullah thought that the Forbidden City trip was “truly unforgettable”, especially “Professor CAO shared her passion for the incredible place, making us laugh, ask questions, and truly appreciate its magic. I feel so lucky to have had her as our guide, and I'm grateful for the amazing memories and knowledge we gained.”

Muhammad Umar Mushtaq visiting the Forbidden City

Saad Ullah visiting the Forbidden City

During the trip, Kyaw Nyein from Myanmar felt that “At that time, I had an amazing feeling about Chinese history, Chinese traditional cultures, architecture, and so on.” He shared that “the Forbidden City was built between 1406-1420 from the Ming Dynasty. In ancient China, it was called “zijincheng” (Chinese: 紫禁城; Literal translation: ‘Purple Forbidden City’). As Professor CAO introduced that it comes from Polaris. In ancient China, Polaris was called Purple Star, it was in the center of the sky. It represented that the Emperor was arranged by the gods to manage the people, and demonstrated the legitimacy of the Emperor’s status. So, it uses the ‘Purple’.”

Kyaw Nyein visiting the Forbidden City

 “The scale of the palace is, of course, impressive!” Artem Iliasov from Russia said. He was not only surprised by the impressive Forbidden City and the warmth welcoming from Chinese people, but noticed that there are some commonalities between Moscow and Beijing, Kremlin and Forbidden City. He said: “Yes, Moscow and Beijing are similar. In the center of Moscow there is Red Square and the ancient Kremlin. In Beijing, the Forbidden City is also next to Tiananmen Square. The walls of the Moscow Kremlin and the Forbidden City are both red.  In both cases, a river flows next to these structures.”

Artem Iliasov visiting the Forbidden City


Click for more UCASer travel diaries:

GHULAM RAZA KHAN: This trip went above and beyond what we learned in our China Panorama session.

YOUSAF KHAN: Visiting the Forbidden City in Beijing was an experience that felt like stepping through the pages of history.

ASMA SABIR: As a new student of UCAS visiting the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, was an experience of a lifetime.

KYAW NYEIN: I would like to Thank to Professor Cao ( China panorama course) to give us such nice course and trip.

SHAH FAISAL: It is an architectural marvel steeped in history and significance.

ARTEM ILIASOV: The scale of the palace is, of course, impressive!



Author: CAO Zhihong

Editor: GAO Yuan