A must see for any Beijing traveller, the Forbidden City features what used to be the Emperor’s main dwelling back in the days. While it is without doubt that its architecture is very impressive it also tells you a little bit about Chinese culture. The grandeur of the facility namely stands in stark contrast to the humble lives many of the 老百姓(common people) have been leading for many, many years. With the opening of the economy, however, some have become dirty rich and now live in homes not that much less impressive than the Forbidden City.
老百姓(common people),for a long time not allowed into the Forbidden City (caption)
Some useful knowledge
While it used to be ok to enter the Forbidden City via the north entrance (opposite of Jingshan Hill) the flow of visitors has now been arranged to go south to north. Therefore, you can only enter the Forbidden City via 天安门 and have to leave via said north gate. The visiting times and entrance fees are constantly changing: so plan at least for 100 RMB for the ticket only per person and always make sure to go early so that you can spend a reasonable amount of time there. The Forbidden City is also set smack in the center of Beijing, with lots of other interesting places around. Further up north you will find the Houhai area, to the west Xidan shopping district and to the east Wangfujing.
Impressive and then some (caption)
Forbidden City gossip
One story that has been making the rounds ever since was how there used to be a Starbucks coffee shop inside the Forbidden City. However, under protest of the population it was forced to close down giving the protesters a sense of achievement in two ways: they felt they could influence decision making by making their opinions heard and they got one on the US American capitalist fast food industry. Good for them.