The Forbidden City Travel Diary: Exploring the Forbidden City

  • Published: 2024-03-02
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Ghulam Raza Khan visiting the Forbidden City

The Forbidden City is a special place in the packed heart of Beijing. This massive 178-acre site has attracted people all over the world since it was originally constructed in the year 1406 by the Ming Dynasty's Yongle Emperor and was formally opened in 1420. Exploring this imperial wonder as a foreign student was the complete highlight of our educational experience, bringing delight with each journey through its beautiful entrances.

Our journey got started at the Meridian Gate, an impressive entrance to a world rich in imperial history. There was a large square beyond it with five bridges resulting to the remarkable Gate of the Hall of Supreme Harmony. The Inner Golden Water River ran beneath these bridges, telling stories about how only the Emperor could cross the central bridge. The Gate of Hall of Supreme Harmony, safeguarded by the bronze medal lions, displayed the dynastic power of China. The Hall of Supreme Harmony was the place used by Ming and Qing dynasties for imperial weddings and enthronements. It wasn't just a historical site; it was like walking into a living art of royal power and incredible architecture.

The excitement continued as we learned about the mysterious emperor, who was a bit hard to meet. The Hall of Central Harmony, where the emperor took a break on his way to the Hall of Supreme Harmony, turned into a stage for the interesting rituals. It was where big decisions were made, and everything was carefully planned.

Our journey then took us to the Hall of Preserved Harmony, a historical site. For significant ceremonies, Ming emperors wore special clothing. There were exciting gatherings in this hall during the Qing Dynasty, illustrating how the Forbidden City transformed over time.

The Forbidden City wasn't simply a place from the past; it was a colorful weaving of life. The Golden Water River flowing through the area gave a peaceful touch, making an appealing contrast to all the grand structures. Moving around through the Imperial Garden, designed for emperors to relax and remain fit, we loved how it served two functions - a calm place to calm down and a spot for memorable events. Professor Cao, whose enthusiasm and expertise brought every stone and corridor to life, guided us through this incredible adventure, helping us to understand the history, and civilization, and architecture of the Forbidden City, transforming it from a tourist attraction into an exciting part of our learning.

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. Professor Cao and the welcoming Chinese people made our visit to the Forbidden City memorable. The Forbidden City formed a part of our memories with each gracefully, a shining symbol of imperial power that would live on in our hearts forever.




Editor: GAO Yuan