Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang in China



The Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang were the centre of State power in late feudal China. The Imperial Palace of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing known as the Forbidden City was constructed between 1406 and 1420 by the Ming emperor Zhu Di and witnessed the enthronement of 14 Ming and 10 Qing emperors over the following 505 years.


Located in Beijing and Shenyang cities of China.

About Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang

  • The Forbidden City, located in the centre of Beijing is the supreme model in the development of ancient Chinese palaces, providing insight into the social development of late dynastic China, especially the ritual and court culture.
  • The layout and spatial arrangement inherits and embodies the traditional characteristic of urban planning and palace construction in ancient China, featuring a central axis, symmetrical design and layout of outer court at the front and inner court at the rear and the inclusion of additional landscaped courtyards deriving from the Yuan city layout.
  • As the exemplar of ancient architectural hierarchy, construction techniques and architectural art, it influenced official buildings of the subsequent Qing dynasty over a span of 300 years. The religious buildings, particularly a series of royal Buddhist chambers within the Palace, absorbing abundant features of ethnic cultures, are a testimony of the integration and exchange in architecture among the Manchu, Han, Mongolian and Tibetan since the 14th century.
  • Meanwhile, more than a million precious royal collections, articles used by the royal family and a large number of archival materials on ancient engineering techniques, including written records, drawings and models, are evidence of the court culture and law and regulations of the Ming and Qing dynasties.
  • The Imperial Palace of the Qing Dynasty in Shenyang while following the traditions of palace construction in China retains typical features of traditional folk residences of the Manchu people, and has integrated the architectural arts of Han, Manchu and Mongolian ethnic cultures.
  • The buildings were laid out according to the “eight-banner” system, a distinct social organization system in Manchu society, an arrangement which is unique among palace buildings.
  • Within the Qingning Palace the sacrificial places for the emperors testify to the customs of Shamanism practiced by the Manchu people for several hundred years.

Best Time to Visit

The best tourist season to travel is from late March to early June and from late August to late November. During these periods, choose someday not on the weekdays and holidays to avoid the crowds of people.

About Forbidden City

If you are planning a Travel to China, then forbidden city is worth to visit. The Forbidden City is functionally divided into Outer Court and Inner Court. Thus, they are architecturally different. Emperors had absolute godly power and held solemn public ceremonies in the Outer Court. The buildings here look solemn and grand. In contrast with the Outer Court, the Inner Court is where emperors enjoyed domestic bliss and did mundane tasks. The architectural styles are less formal with gardens and courtyards. Apart from the halls and palaces along the central axis, there are buildings on the two sides to accommodate lesser luminaries.

It is said that there are totally 9,999 and a half rooms in the Forbidden City because only the God of Heaven could be entitled to 10,000 rooms. Emperor Chengzu, who built the Forbidden City, declared himself the son of the God of Heaven, thus defining the smaller size of his palace. Therefore, it had half a room less when it was built. However in ancient Chinese architecture, one room refers to a square space among four pillars in a hall and it is impossible to have a half room among four pillars. By the lastest count, there are 8,707 rooms, including big and small palaces, halls, towers, pavilions, belvederes. The 9,999 rooms and a half is just a myth.

Many gates inside the imperial city, especially the huge red gates of the major structures, are decorated with gilded door-nails. If you study them carefully, you will find that most of the gates have nine rows of door-nails and each row consists of nine. Why? That’s because nine implied supremacy in monarchist China and reserved for the emperor’s use.

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