China has one of the oldest civilizations in the world with an extensive history that back tracks to 1700 BC. Between eras of numerous kingdoms and warlordism, Chinese dynasties have reined in China and at times Tibet, with each dynasty leaving its mark in the chapters of history. One such monarch that history will recall forever is Emperor YongLe, the third of the Ming dynasty for creating what is undoubtedly one of the most dazzling architectural masterpieces ever to be created by mankind.
China or ChungHua is translated to mean ‘the country at the centre’ or ‘Middle Kingdom’ and the Forbidden Kingdom also referred to as Zi Jin Ch’eng; home of YongLe, is believed to be positioned on the midpoint of the world. Located in the midpoint of Beijing, the capital of China, the Forbidden City is an extravagant array of palaces, audience halls and temples for rituals. It consisted of a vast layout of chambers with endless gardens to serve as living quarters for the Emperor and his family along with separate governmental accommodation. A special chamber was erected for paying homage to ancestral rites and three temples were built for the three types of religions; Buddhism, Taoism and Lamaism.
Legend goes to narrate that the very structure of this masterpiece was conceived into existence as a result of a dream had by a visionary monk who served as YongLe’s tutor. This extravagant construction took up to 15 years with the recruiting of 200,000 skilled artisans, a million labourers and the three architects Hsu Tai, Yuan An and Feng Chiao. With symmetrical alignment symbolizing ancient rules of spatial design, the entire creation consists of exactly 9,999 rooms as it is believed that number 9 denotes luck and prosperity.
A trip to the Forbidden City gives insight to the secret life and rituals within the walls of the palace, as the name denotes entry is for a restricted few and those who entered often lived and died within the walls of the Forbidden City. It is truly a spectacle with a magnificent and rich history that cannot be confined into a mere page or two or a thousand; one must see for oneself and be transported into an era long ago that would stun you to silence by its sheer magnetism.
While in this ancient city, be sure to locate yourself in the centre as this gives you the distinctive edge of being within walking distance to many destinations and sites. A luxury apartment in Beijing is the highly recommended means of accommodation for the discerning traveller who values space and luxury. Somerset Grand Fortune Garden is one of the best serviced apartments Beijing offering personalized facilities and services to make your weekend retreat or business trip a thoroughly relaxing and enjoyable experience.