Sunday, October 20, 2013

9999.5 Rooms In This Palace

Spanning over 178 acres of land, the Forbidden City, or the Zijin Cheng is a major tourist attraction in Beijing. Also known as, the Imperial Palace, the building dates back around 500 years, though it was recently reopened for public after repairs in 1949. Surrounded by 7.9-meter high city walls, the Forbidden City was protected by a six-meter deep and 52-meter wide moat as well. That though, did not stop this monumental building from being sacked multiple times and be razed to the ground completely by the Manchu’s.

Although the original building had pillars in the important halls of the valuable Phoebe zhennan wood, the reconstruction by the Qing Dynasty replaced the pillars with pinewood ones and, unlike the original pillars, these are not whole logs used lavishly. The interesting aspect of the Palace’s construction was the transportation of the stone used in the construction of the terraces. According to historians, the builders dug wells along the roads from the queries to the construction sites and poured water on the road to get the thin ice in the winters so they could slide the heavy stones to their destination.

The 9999.5 rooms the palace boasts, is just half a room short of what is believed to be the number of rooms in heaven itself. The half room has a staircase in it that keeps the building from matching the heavens. The building is still intimidating with its huge courtyards and imposing gates. The ceremonial halls include the three halls of Harmony, and the inner courtyard holds the Palace of Heavenly Purity. The symbolic wall art, the evocative messages, all add to the beauty and value of the site. While the government tries to keep commercialism down, souvenir shops are still never too far and you can have photographs of this monumental structure as well.

Throughout its long history, and even as recently as 1949 when China declared itself a People’s Republic, the Imperial Palace was persistently damaged by lootings, conquests and even the Cultural Revolution. The Palace today does not hold all its treasures within the Imperial Museum, however, for what it depicts and whatever it still has, its cultural and historical importance is undeniable. Every year millions of tourists throng its courtyards to visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

For those visiting the Forbidden City in Beijing, Redwall Hotel Beijing is a great place to relax after a day of sightseeing. The hotel is not only close to some major tourist spots in the city, it is close enough to shopping centers as well for those interested in the modern China. With 200 modern rooms and those geared at depicting China’s cultural heritage, the Redwall Hotel Beijing holds the country’s culture at its heart and serves Western as well as Chinese delicacies in the restaurant and the Glanviue Coffee Bar


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