How not to get lost in the Forbidden City

Watch this red group as it makes its way through the Forbidden City. We, Sinorama Bus 2, only had to follow a red flag like the one in the fifth photo and wear pink name tags.

Chinese tour groups often sported uniforms: hats, t-shirts, name tags, sometimes carrying matching satchels.

Chinese tour groups often sported uniforms: hats, t-shirts, name tags, sometimes carrying matching satchels.

Inside the first gate - within the Imperial City, but not yet inside the Forbidden City.  We seemed to be on the same schedule as that red Chinese group.

Inside the first gate – within the Imperial City, but not yet inside the Forbidden City. We seemed to be on the same schedule as that red Chinese group.

There they are again.

Two of our group with their backs to the camera - we weren't shepherded quite as strictly as that Chinese group, which appears in the mid-ground.  And oh, look, there's a group with pink hats!

Two of our group with their backs to the camera – we weren’t shepherded quite as strictly as that Chinese group, which appears in the mid-ground. And oh, look, there’s a group with pink hats!

The Forbidden City in Beijing housed Chinese emperors, their families and retinue (concubines, eunuchs etc.) for the Ming and Qing dynasties, ending in 1912. It and many other imperial buildings, tombs, and relics are now a major tourist attraction in China, both for foreign tourists, and for Chinese tourists. This continues to strike me as a bit strange, given Chinese politics, but Chairman Mao’s portrait is now on the main gate into the Imperial City.

Between the first and second gate, a stream, an offshoot of the moat, flows through the complex.

Between the first and second gate, a stream, an offshoot of the moat, flows through the complex.

Inside the second set of gates - I believe there were three sets. It gives you an idea of just how big the whole complex is.

Inside the second set of gates – I believe there were three sets. It gives you an idea of just how big the whole complex is.

The Forbidden City is surrounded by a 26 ft high wall and a 20 ft deep by 171 ft wide moat. The complex is a rectangle, measuring about one kilometer by .75 kilometers. According to Wikipedia it consists of 980 surviving buildings - not the 999 we were told.

The Forbidden City is surrounded by a 26 ft high wall and a 20 ft deep by 171 ft wide moat. The complex is a rectangle, measuring about one kilometer by .75 kilometers. According to Wikipedia it consists of 980 surviving buildings – not the 999 we were told.

If you Google the Forbidden City you can get lots more detail on the layout, history, and use.

Next post: Details within the Forbidden City.

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One comment on “How not to get lost in the Forbidden City

  1. Denis says:

    Great series Joan, Thanks

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