The Forbidden City is the largest complex of Palace buildings in the world. It was totally off limits to mere mortals for over 500 years until the final overthrow of the Emporer in the 1920s. Everyone now enters through the gate that was used by the Emporer…Above right. It opens into a massive courtyard that could hold an audience of 100,000. There were no plants or trees, lest an assasin hide behind them. I told our guide that, in America, the absence of trees would eliminate potential surprise attacks by elephants who have become adept at hiding in this foliage.
The invited then pass through another gate and administrative hall to enter yet a third courtyard.
The halls become smaller and more intimate as we entered the living quarters. Servants, concubines, and women entered the complex from gates on this side. And the whole Palace complex was surrounded by a moat. Mrs Bear mentioned that it was about a mile walk from the first gate to the exit gate on the other side. Which proves, once again, that the Chinese don’t do anything small. All-in-all, a fantastic look at an incredibly regal culture.