The Forbidden City (紫禁城, Zǐjinchéng, also known as Gùgōng 故宫), is the former imperial palace of the Qing and Ming dynasties (1420 to 1912 AD). It is located centrally in Beijing and is surrounded by a moat. The compound has a rectangular shape, extending for 961m from north to south and 753m from east to west. The visitor access is at the southern gate (the Meridian gate), the exit at the northern gate. The Forbidden City was built under the Ming emperor Yongle between 1406 and 1420 and consists of 980 splendidly decorated buildings. Only the central part of the Forbidden City is accessible to visitors, who proceed through a number of gates, courtyards and pavilions before reaching the Imperial garden to the north. A typical visit can take two hours or longer. North of the Forbidden City is the Jingshan park, with a small hill allowing a nice view of the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1987.

01 Bridge 02 Gate of Supreme Harmony 03 Forbidden city 04 Inner court
05 Lion statue 06 Lion statue 07 Gate of Supreme Harmony 08 Inner court
09 Hall of Supreme Harmony 10 Tiren pavilion 11 Forbidden city 12 Hall of Supreme Harmony
13 Dragon decorations 14 Chinese zodiac 15 Throne 16 Vase handle 17 Hall of Preserving Harmony
18 Second courtyard 19 Gate of heavenly purity 20 Roofs 21 Neiyou gate
22 Wall decorations 23 Armed police 24 Armed police 25 Pavilions 26 Roof
27 Forbidden city 28 Gate of auspicious benevolence 29 Tortoise head 30 Dog statue 31 Forbidden city
32 Forbidden city 33 Forbidden city 34 Forbidden city
35 Forbidden city 36 Meridian gate 37 Meridian gate 38 Supreme Harmony Hall
39 Pavilion 40 Court and pavilions 41 Throne 42 Throne 43 Yu Hua Yuan (Imperial garden)
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