A Very Forbidden Experience

So I skipped the Great Wall, I told my wife it’s not going anywhere (fingers crossed), but I had a massive success with the Forbidden City aka Palace Museum. Entering from the south side the real life movie experience begins. If you’re a fan of Chinese cinema, it’s easy to imagine the fight scene from The Assassins, as you enter the gate and onto an absolutely immense open area. I didn’t ask for the guided tour so I probably missed out on the nuances of architectural aesthetic. However, I was totally and thoroughly blown away by layout, size and numbers of people managing to do similar to me. Proportions count for a lot in a scenario like this. The Palace Museum has a mix of open areas, rooms containing relics, museums within museums and park like gardens, all encompassed by a ‘moat’ for want of a better description. Opening hours are limited and some say 3 hours, which I can imagine is all you get on a guided tour, is enough. But it’s worth the time and, if you can afford longer, the effort to take it all in. It’s in the centre of the old part of Beijing, close to Tiananmen and has views toward Jingshan Park. In fact the elevated areas within the Forbidden City offer the best perspective and some sense of location that can be easily fortified with a trip up the hill in Jingshan Park. For my sake, I hope neither the Great Wall nor the Forbidden City go anywhere, anytime soon. Yet another reason to go back to Beijing.

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