Life in the Palace
Trip Start May 21, 2012
47Trip End Ongoing
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What I did
When you walk into the Forbidden City, you're struck by how huge it is. You'll see this more when I put up pictures of the aerial view of the whole city from a nearby park. It's not merely a palace, but rather an actual city, with a whole series of connected buildings and passageways. Each of the big main buildings has its own title/name and thus its own special purpose. Between some buildings were these grand open spaces with decorative bridges and stone carvings.
Here's a front view of one of the buildings.
Here's some of the roof detail.
The inside of these buildings was also very grand. I can't imagine it was terribly comfortable.
There were also these incredible stone carvings. The one below is the longest one in the Forbidden City. I can't remember the exact length, though.
Carl and I were traveling through it together (which is why I only have pictures of Carl in this post. haha), and we decided to stop in at one of the exhibitions. The way it worked was that the main grand buildings of the Forbidden City ran along the center. Then, off to the sides, were the smaller, more intimate buildings that might have been living quarters.
These have many exhibitions (which you have to pay extra money for). We went to one about the imperial clocks. I kid you not. It was actually pretty amazing. Some of these clocks were huge, some were small. Some moved while others were made to look like other things (like a vase with flowers or something). All of them were detailed and intricate and gorgeous. It was really neat. The exhibit only cost 10 kuai (kuai = yuan = RMB = Chinese currency). When you do the conversion, that's only a little more than $1. Go China.
So the first clock we saw was this grand clock with incredibly intricate detailing.
The exhibit was really cool and modern-looking. These panels were the introduction to the exhibit in several different languages, I think.
The clocks were made to be all kinds of shapes (I apologize for the dark lighting)
And then there was this huge clock that I think was run by water, like a fountain.
(For more clock pictures, check out the album below).
The garden was also exceedingly beautiful, despite the fact that there were very few flowers in bloom. The design, upkeep, and landscaping was just gorgeous.
I have to say, though, that although the Forbidden City is beautiful and opulent and just simply amazing, I think it could very easily get very lonely. There were some emperors (specifically child emperors, I think. I really need to brush up on my history...) who weren't allowed to leave the Forbidden City. So even though it's huge, and there's so many places to explore and discover, I can imagine it getting very lonely if there aren't any other people except servants or people older than you (if you're a child). Even more so if the Forbidden City isn't full of people. It's cold and detached in its splendor. So though it's a city of a palace, it's definitely also prison-like. Definitely worth a visit if you ever get the chance. Fascinating.