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The former Chinese imperial palace, all the way from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty (1420-1912), indisputably sits atop the must-see tourist destinations in the capital city of Beijing. Not only serving as the home for many a emperor, the Forbidden City also maintained its self as the political center of the Chinese government for nearly 500 years! (That in its self makes it worthy of a visit if nothing else). The complex that comprises of 980 buildings covers a colossal 180 acres of land in what is a triumph in Chinese palatial architecture.
So much so that the compound has been conferred with the label of a World Heritage site along with being listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. Wow right?
If the abovementioned wasn’t a good enough sell, come 2020, Forbidden City will provide more reasons for you to visit if you haven’t already and re-visit if you have already. As the palace gets ready to open the gates to Qianlong Garden for the very first time in its extensive history. The Qianlong Garden was erected between 1771 and 1776 with an intent to act as the retirement home for the Qing Dynasty’s fourth ruler, Emperor Qianlong (Who ruled from 1736-1795). Particularly eminent for its bamboo marquetry, perfectly coordinated rock gardens, silk murals, four stunning courtyards and complex interiors; some say it was designed as a mini-Forbidden City within the Forbidden City.
An outlandish decree by Qianlong banning future generations from altering the complex has largely ensured the two acre gardens’ originality, although, upon China’s last emperor (Puyi’s) abandonment of Forbidden City in 1924, the property lay in a state of abject neglect. Hence, restoration work is underway
and is scheduled to be completed by 2020 – coincidentally the 600th anniversary of the founding of the Forbidden City.
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