World Heritage #0439 – The Forbidden City

Last modified 12.12.2022 | Published 18.03.1985China, North, Central and East Asia, World Heritage Sites

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The Forbidden city is large and impressive. Despite this, the emperors of China lived in a prison-like confinement with immense treasures. 

The UNESCO World Heritage List includes over a thousand properties with outstanding universal value. They are all part of the world’s cultural and natural heritage.


Official facts

  • Official title: Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang
  • Country: China
  • Date of Inscription: 1987
  • Category: Cultural site

UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre’s short description of site no. 439:

“Seat of supreme power for over five centuries (1416-1911), the Forbidden City in Beijing, with its landscaped gardens and many buildings (whose nearly 10,000 rooms contain furniture and works of art), constitutes a priceless testimony to Chinese civilization during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The Imperial Palace of the Qing Dynasty in Shenyang consists of 114 buildings constructed between 1625-26 and 1783. It contains an important library and testifies to the foundation of the last dynasty that ruled China, before it expanded its power to the centre of the country and moved the capital to Beijing. This palace then became auxiliary to the Imperial Palace in Beijing. This remarkable architectural edifice offers important historical testimony to the history of the Qing Dynasty and to the cultural traditions of the Manchu and other tribes in the north of China.”


My visit

To be true, I have not been to Shenyang but I have been to the Forbidden City in Beijing twice. Both times the sheer size and complexity of the Walled City and its innermost part, the Forbidden City, has been so overwhelming in splendour and power that I have felt satisfied with walking in a straight line right through it. Even that takes time to overcome.

Read more about my visit in 1985. and this one from 2011.

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