The Forbidden City
The Imperial Palace, better known as the Forbidden City, was for 5 centuries the exclusive enclave of the Ming and Qing dynasty Emperors, totally out of bounds to ordinary Chinese, who were not even allowed to approach the walls of this incredible city-within-a-city.
The palace is located in the very heart of Beijing and was considered to be the centre of the universe. The Emperors, or 'Sons of Heaven' governed from here with absolute authority; they rarely left the palace and lived a life that would have shocked the populace by its luxury and excess.
There are reckoned to be 9,999 rooms in the Forbidden City. It is a vast complex and you will only have time to see a relatively small but nonetheless stunning portion of the palace, including the Meridian Gate, the 'Golden Water Stream' with its five marble bridges, the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Hall of Middle Harmony, the imperial living quarters and the Palace of Eternal Spring.