Imperial Palace----Eternal Treasure of China
What strikes one first in a bird's -eye view of Beijing is a vast tract of golden roofs flashing brilliantly in the sun with purple walls occasionally emerging amid them, and a stretch of luxuriant tree leaves flanking on each side. That is the former Imperial Palace, in which twenty-four emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties ruled China for some 500 years——from1420 to 1911. At present, the Palace is an elaborate museum that presents the largest and most complete ensemble of traditional architecture complex and more than 900,000 pieces of court treasures in all dynasties in China. Listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1987, the Imperial Palace is now one of the most popular tourist attractions world-wide.

Lying at the center of Beijing, the Palace Museum was the imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Rectangular in shape, it is the world's largest palace complex and covers 74 hectares. Having been the imperial palace for some five centuries, it houses numerous rare treasures and curiosities. Construction of the palace began in 1407, the 5th year of the Yongle reign of the third emperor of the Ming dynasty. It was completed fourteen years later in 1420. It was said that a million workers including one hundred thousand artisans were driven into the long-term hard labor. Stone needed was quarried from Fangshan, a suburb of Beijing and it was said a well was dug every fifty meters along the road in order to pour water onto the road in winter to slide huge stones on ice into the city.
The collections of the Palace Museum are based on the Qing imperial collection - ceramics, paintings and calligraphy, bronze ware, timepieces, jade, palace paraphernalia, ancient books and historical documents. After more than a decade of painstaking efforts, some 710,000 objects from the Qing palace were retrieved. At the same time, through national allocations, requisitions and private donations, more than 220,000 additional pieces of cultural significance were added, making up for such omissions from the original Qing collections as colored earthenware from the Stone Age, bronzes and jades from the Shang and Zhou dynasties, pottery tomb figurines from the Han dynasty, stone sculpture from the Northern and Southern Dynasties, and tri-color pottery from the Tang dynasty. The ancient paintings, scrolls and calligraphy added to the collections were particularly spectacular- all masterpieces without exception.
Admission fee: 60RMB/person (Peak season); 40RMB/person (Low season)
Opening hours: 8:30-16:30 (16th Oct-15th Apr.); 8:30-17:00 (16th Apr.-15th Oct.)
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