Forbidden City Architecture

Among the largest ancient places in China, the Forbidden City is a well preserved palace. This palace is situated in Tiananmen Square, the center of the city of Beijing. It is an imposing and graceful complex. It has numerous structures which together house over 9,000 rooms.


The Forbidden City was built from 1406 to 1420. The construction of this building was completed by more than one million workers and hundreds of thousands of artisans. This grand complex served as the residence to the Ming Dynasty and Qing rulers.


The Forbidden City was symmetrically built along a central north to south axis. The Hall of Central Harmony, the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Hall of Preserving Harmony, the Hall of Union, the Palace of Heavenly Purity and the Palace of Earthly Tranquility were all built on this central axis. The rooms and gardens all display the characteristics of ancient Chinese architecture.

The Structure

The main frames of the palaces are made of wood. The wooden columns and beams are the most vital structural elements, while the walls of the palaces are auxiliary structures. Brackets are also a typical fixture in ancient Chinese architecture. In the Qing and Ming Dynasties, these brackets were not used to support the building and absorb the impacts of the earthquakes, rather they were for decoration only.


The colors of the Forbidden City have their own meanings. Red and yellow are the two primary colors. In Chinese culture, yellow means respect. It is utilized on the roofs of many palaces in China. The color yellow was only allowed to be used by the imperial families. In addition, the walls are painted red to symbolize the emperors’ hope for the stability of the country.

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