The world-renowned Forbidden City is the former imperial palace which has served as the royal residence of twenty-four Chinese emperors for over 491 years between 1420 and 1911 (from Ming to Qing dynasty).
The complex consists of over 9900 rooms and covers 180 acres. The rectangle-shaped architectural complex encompasses numerous buildings situated in the outer and inner courts.
The outer court is made up by three great halls: Taihe - Baohe - Zhonghe and was used as the place where the emperors handled national affairs and was the ceremonial and political center of the Chinese government. In its turn the inner court was the home of the emperors and royal families for over 5 centuries.
The complex is the priceless testimony to Chinese civilization throughout 15-20 centuries. The Gugong Museum now preserves a total of 1,807,558 artifacts including paintings, ceramics, seals, sculptures, inscribed wares, bronze wares, enamel objects, etc, to illustrate the gorgeous accomplishment of imperial China.
The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.