THE FORBIDDEN CITY, Buildings East Side Ii

Audio File length: 2.42
English / USA Language: English / USA

The Palace of Great Benevolence has maintained its original layout to this day. If you enter through the main gate, you’ll see a stone screen said to be a relic from the Yuan dynasty, which ruled over China from 1271 to 1368.

The palace has two courtyards with terraces looking onto them, corridors with porticoes and a small pavilion built over a well that was used to wash offerings before they were taken to the sacred kitchens. It was the residence of the emperors’ concubines during the Ming dynasty, but during the Qing dynasty, Emperor Kangxi was born here and lived in the palace for a long time. Inside, you can see many rare objects dating back many centuries.

 

Now press pause and press play again in front of the Palace of Lasting Happiness, easily recognizable because it’s an unfinished building in western style that contrasts sharply with all of those around it.

 

The original building burned down in 1845, and in 1909 the decision was taken to replace it with a "crystal palace", with glass walls similar to those of an aquarium, and fish swimming inside them. Each of the four corners of the palace was to be connected with a three-storey hexagonal pavilion.

As you can see, the construction has a metal framework, and the whole building is in white marble on the outside, with porcelain tiles on the inside. The building project was abandoned due to the exorbitant costs involved and the palace remained unfinished.

At the end of the road you can see another two buildings. The first is the Palace of Abstinence, built in 1731, where the emperors used to fast before worshipping heaven and earth, abstaining from killing, celebrating, having sex, drinking alcohol and eating meat.

The second, which you’ll find on your way out of the first, is the Hall of Ancestry Worship. With a corridor linking the main hall to the bedroom at the rear, this was the temple where the imperial family worshiped their ancestors. Today it contains a fabulous exhibition of some 200 antique timepieces.

 

An interesting fact: the Chinese clocks in the palace mark the hours in the most bizarre ways. Some have little robots playing drums or ringing bells, while others have blossoming flowers or dancing butterflies.

Our visit to the Forbidden City ends here. MyWoWo would like to thank you - see you again at another Wonder of the World!

 

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