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The sky is blue today. Compared to the frequent overcast weather in Beijing, it is really a fine day for a tour. After having our breakfast with the local specialty- Chairman Mao's Red-Braised Pork, we are going on our way.
Our destination today is the Forbidden City, or the Imperial Palace. To enter the Forbidden City, we should pass the Tian'anmen Gate,where Chairmen Mao announced the establishment of the People's Republic of China. I stand there imagining that I had experienced that historic moment personally.
Having passed the Tian'anmen Gate, we come to the main entrance to the Forbidden City-the Meridian Gate. Before going through the gate, I rent an audio tour which can interpret the attractions while I am walking. Passing the Meridian Gate, we are really in the Forbidden City. Crossing the Inner Golden Water River, we reach a broad square, a great palace-styled gate in the middle of it.In fact, all the gates in the Forbidden City are palace-styled structure. This one is called the Gate of Supreme Harmony with a pair of bronze lions in the front of it, which are known as the most mighty lions in China.
Through the Gate of Supreme Harmony, there is an expansive square in front of the Hall of Supreme Harmony where the emperors attended court affairs. The Hall of Supreme Harmony is the most important and grandest building in the Forbidden City. Although, number nine is the biggest number in the Forbidden City, there are ten beast carvings on the eaves of the Hall of Supreme Harmony, which prove the supreme status of the Hall of Supreme Harmony. Built on a three-story terrace made of white marble, it is the peak of the Forbidden City.
Going ahead, we reach the Hall of Central Harmony and the Hall of Preserving Harmony. These three grand halls form the outer court of the Forbidden City. (The main buildings of the Forbidden City are divided into two sections: the outer court and the inner court. )
Walking along the Hall of Preserving Harmony, in the central line of the palace cemplex, we pass through the Gate of Heavenly Purity and arrive at the Hall of Heavenly Purity, which was the emperors'sleeping place during the period of Shunzhi and Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty. But this hall soon fall into disuse after Emperor Yongzheng who made the Hall of Mental Cultivation his sleeping place after he mourning over his father Emperor Kangxi's death for 27 months. The Hall of Mental Cultivation formally since the took the role as the emperors'sleeping place. Through the Hall of Union and Peace, we reach the Palace of Earthly Tranquility, which was the empresses'bedroom during the Ming Dynasty and emperors' wedding room during the Qing Dynasty. Now the decorations in the Palace of Earthly Tranquility remain the same as the moment when Emperor Kangxi got married.
There is also a Nine Dragon Screen in the Forbidden City which is the reminiscent of the Nine Dragon Screen in the Beihai Park. There is a moving story about this screen : At the time when the Nine Dragon Screen was being constructed, two hundred and seventy roof tiles with colored glaze would be applied. Each roof tile was unique and the Nine Dragon Screen couldn't be completed without any one of them. One worker broke a roof tile with colored glaze carelessly, which would make him to be executed. A carpenter risked his life to make an imitation by wood and then painted it which deceived the officials. Therefore they narrowly escaped the death sentence. But this wood imitation has been rotten after so many years.
In the late years of the Qing Dynasty, the camera had come out in the Forbidden City, which left the photographs of the last emperor of Qing Dynasty. Fortunately, we have seen the photographs of Emperor Xuantong and Empress Wanrong. Emperor Xuantong was very thin while Empress Wanrong was really glamorous.
It is impossible to cover the numerous attractions in the Forbidden City in a day trip. We leave the Forbidden City reluctantly at 3 p.m. Turning my head again and again, I want to see the Forbidden City one more time, the home to 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
After this unforgettable experience in the Forbidden City, I become really curious about Chinese history and I make up my mind to read many books on Chinese history to learn more.
This unforgettable day end with enjoying another Beijing specialty-Beijing Roast Duck. Cool !