Forbidden City Facts

Name: Ancient Palace (故宫; Gùgōng /goo-ghong/)
Meaning: ‘former palace’
Previous names: Zijin Cheng ('Purple Forbidden City')


  • It is the world's biggest ancient palace.
  • It is considered to be among the world's top 5 most important palaces.
  • China's most popular single site tourist attraction.
  • The structure is almost 600 years old.
  • Home of dynastic clans for 500 years.
  • A million articles are considered national heritage.
  • 1987 UNESCO World Heritage List
  • The largest collection of ancient wooden structures in the world.
  • A stunning array of ancient treasures and buildings: with ancient porcelain and jade, gardens, plazas, historic sites, and 9,999 rooms

Most Popular Sections

tiananmenTian'anmen Square

One Day Beijing Forbidden City Tour from US $27 p/p (based on travel party of 2-3 persons)


  • 1406 Construction began on the Ming Dynasty palace in Beijing
  • 1420 The palace complex was completed.
  • 1644 The Ming Dynasty lost control of the palace and the Manchus took possession.
  • 1860 and 1900 Western forces briefly took control of the palace on two occasions.
  • 1912 The last emperor of the Qing Empire abdicated.
  • 1947 An important part of the palace's antiques and treasures were taken to Taiwan.
  • 1987 The complex was named a UNESCO World Heritage.
  • Original Purpose: A palace compound to protect and serve the Ming Dynasty clan.
  • Significance: The palace complex was the center of two empires and is considered the symbol of China. Now it's Beijing's most popular tourist attraction.


  • Location: in the center of modern Beijing (39.92N, 116.40E)


forbidden citySurrounding wall of Forbidden City
  • Rooms: 9,999 including anterooms
  • Buildings: 980
  • Total surface area: 720,000 square meters (7,747,200 square feet / 180 acres). For comparison, the Vatican measures 440,000 square meters, and the Kremlin measures 275,000 square meters.
  • Surrounding wall: 7.9 meters (26 ft) high and 8.62 m (28.3 ft) wide at the base.
  • Moat outside the walls: 6 meters (20 ft) deep and 52 meters (171 ft) wide
  • Largest structure: The Hall of Supreme Harmony is 30 meters (98 ft) tall.
  • Distance between east gate and west gate: 750 m
  • Distance between north and south gate: 960 m

Interesting Facts

  • Eunuchs: At one time, 9,000 eunuchs lived there.
  • Laborers: 200,000 - 1 million laborers and artisans constructed the complex.
  • Emperors: altogether, 24 emperors lived there.

Additional Informationlegends

  • Ticket Price: ~60 RMB (9.44 USD) and ~20 RMB for an English audio tour
  • Nearby Shopping Street: WangFujing Street


  • Beijing Capital International Airport is the busiest in Asia. It is 26 km from the attraction.
  • Subway: Take Metro Line 1 to Tian'anmen West or Tian'anmen East or Metro Line 2 and get off at Qianmen Station
  • Bus: Tourist Bus 1 or 5

Forbidden city walking tour