The Forbidden City, also known as the Palace Museum, lies in the city center of Beijing, and was once the Chinese imperial palace of the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 - 1911). It was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1987 and is the largest, best-preserved ancient timber-built palace complex in the world.
Rectangular in shape, the Forbidden City is enormous, covering an area of 72 hectares, and boasting more than 9,000 bays of rooms. It is divided into two parts – the Outer Court for national affairs in the south and the Inner Court as living quarters in the north. It is not only an immense architectural masterpiece, but also a treasury housing a unique collection of 1.8 million pieces of art, including ancient calligraphy and painting, imperial artifacts, ancient books and archives. A must-see in Beijing and the world’s most visited museum, it is worth spending half to one day to visit the Forbidden City and appreciate the precious cultural heritage of China.