THE FORBIDDEN CITY, Hall Of Celestial And Terrestrial Union And Palace Of Earthly Tranquility

Audio File length: 2.30
English / USA Language: English / USA

The Hall of Celestial and Terrestrial Union was the throne room of the empress, where she would receive guests or meet with the concubines, princesses and the wives of the princes.

It was created during the reign of Jiajing of the Ming dynasty, and was twice restored, in 1655 and 1669. In 1797, it was damaged by a fire and rebuilt the following year. The building has a single roof, topped with a spherical, gilded bronze pinnacle.

It is square and smaller than the Hall of Central Harmony, but it is built in the same architectural style.


Inside, you can see two very unusual clocks. One is mechanical, built in wood in 1798, shaped like a Chinese pavilion and almost six meters tall. There are steps at the back, and if you wind it up, you can listen to its marvelous carillon.

The other is a bronze water clock, built in 1745 and based on technology that measures time using the flow of water, invented in China over 3000 years ago.


Now press pause and press play again when you reach the Palace of Earthly Tranquility.


This is the last of the three main palaces in the Inner Court. It was first built in 1420, and rebuilt in 1605 after being damaged by two fires, in 1514 and 1596. It has undergone restoration three more times since then.

The Palace of Earthly Tranquility was the residence of the empress during the Ming dynasty. After it was rebuilt during the Qing dynasty, it was used only as the wedding chamber of the emperor and empress, and as a place of worship in which rituals linked to the couple took place.

The furnishings you see date to the marriage of Emperor Guangxu, one of the most opulent wedding ceremonies to ever take place. The wall is painted red, and the lamps feature Chinese characters meaning “double happiness”. The canopy and the quilt are embroidered with 100 playing children. The imperial couple, however, spent only a few days in the chamber after their marriage before moving to their residences.


An interesting fact: this room was used by just three emperors, the only ones to ascend to the throne as young unmarried men.








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