Beijing is a city of many facets; the historical Beijing with its landscaped gardens, pavilions and palaces paint a picture of Chinese imperial dominance, the communist Beijing pays homage to the cultural revolution of Mao and the commercial district of Beijing is at the centre of the world’s economy. The beauty of this city is that all these aspects still live on and congregate to create an urban culture that is unseen in any other city. Nowhere else can you find a metropolis where the grandeur of palaces live on right next to communist monuments like Tiananmen Square or a rampantly commercialized business district.
However, the heart of the Chinese capital will always belong to the historical Forbidden City, which was the site of the palace occupied by rulers of the Ming dynasty. The palace was the home of emperors for five hundred years, who wielded great power over swathes of land so large that it could easily accommodate several European countries. When the city of Peking was built during the Ming dynasty the rulers wanted it to be a functional seat of power, thus separate areas are designated for the royal residence, for the army commanders, administrative offices and also for barracks.
The area that was designated as the royal residence became known as the Forbidden City as mere mortals were not granted access. To enter into this realm of royalty one would have to be a member of the upper echelons of Imperial China.
Since the year 1925, the Forbidden City has been converted into the National Palace Museum that houses artefacts belonging to the Ming and Qing dynasties that used Peking or as it is known today, Beijing, as their capital. The ancient buildings that hark back to the days of the Emperor have been restored beautifully so that tourists entering here truly feel as if they are in a time capsule. Among the attractions that should be visited are the gates and the walls of the Imperial City, the Palace of Heavenly Purity and the Hall of Military Eminence.
Guests staying at a Beijing hotel should definitely visit this location as it is the hallmark of China’s history. Those staying at Grand Millennium Beijing can also avail themselves to some great Beijing hotel deals involving this attraction.
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.
Lying in the heart of Beijing is the city’s renowned Forbidden City. So-called because in imperial times it was forbidden to enter the complex without the emperor’s permission, the compound served as the imperial residence for 24 Qing and Ming dynasty Emperors. The grand complex featuring majestic architecture is a testament to the creative skills of the Chinese people. Today in the Palace Museum visitors will see various treasures and artefacts relating to the imperial period.
Discerning travellers seeking Beijing accommodation will find an ideal choice in the Ascott Beijing, a luxury apartment in Beijing which provides excellent accommodations and service.