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The Forbidden City

Updated: Jan 27

The name for the Forbidden City in Chinese is Zijincheng, which literally translates to "purple forbidden city". Purple, "Zi", refers to the North star, which the ancient Chinese believed to be the home of the Celestial Emperor. And Jin Cheng translates to forbidden city, which is a reference to needing the Emperor's permission to enter or exit the imperial palace.

The construction of the Forbidden City was completed in 1420 AD and took 15 years, over 100,000 craftsmen, and around one million slave laborers to construct. The palace was home to many Emperors through out the Ming and Qing Dynasties, but during the second Opium war was taken over by Angelo-French troops, who destroyed many precious, ancient artifacts.

The Forbidden city is primarily constructed of wood and is the largest collection of preserved ancient wood in the World. Many fires have taken place in the Forbidden City and as a result many of the buildings were rebuilt or restored in the 18th century, but it's still breathtaking to walk through the gardens and vast grounds of the forbidden city. We enjoyed the hand painted details on the walls and ceilings. There is a lot of red and yellow used in the murals because in ancient China only the Emperor was allowed to wear yellow and red symbolizes good luck. It was amazing to walk through a piece of ancient history. One of my favorite things about China is the preservation of their past. It's absolutely incredible to walk through places in China that are older than the County we just came from! It's so cool!

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