THE PEOPLE'S CULTURAL PALACE
AND THE FORBIDDEN CITY OF BEIJING

In ancient China, only privileged people had the opportunity of entering the Emperor's Palace. For "ordinary persons", the royal estate and the governmental area were

"The Forbidden City".

It has only been in recent years that foreign visitors have had the opportunity of seeing what life at court here was like. In recent years, thousands of highly skilled craftsmen have completed detailed and authentic restoration of China's great legacy.

The palatial compound comprises a rectangular area of approximately 720,000 square meters, surrounded by a moat and a wall, which still partly exists. Within these boundaries, a total of 80 halls and palaces are symmetrically arranged amid far-flung gardens.

The third Emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Yong Le, decided to build his seat of government in the north of the empire (the meaning of Beijing is "Northern Capital"), and in the early part of the 15th century began building the "City within the City". From 1406, 24 Emperors of the Ming and Quin Dynasties were to live and rule from this imperial estate - until the end of the monarchy in 1911.

Following the republican revolution, the palatial grounds were opened to the public, section by section, and today the Forbidden City serves as a venue for major events as well as housing museums and exhibition quarters.

The site for this Turandot production used to be known as The Palace of Heavenly Purity - today it is called the "People's Cultural Palace". The original palace was built here in 1406. Since then, fires claimed the original structure - the current building dates from 1798. The old palace housed the Emperor's bedroom, but later the rooms were used for royal audiences - foreign ambassadors were received here, attended on occasion also by the Empress.

The last royal ceremony to take place here was the wedding of the last Chinese Emperor Pu Yi, in December 1924.

The front facade of the palace was incorporated in the sets of this Turandot production. Red and yellow (imperial colors reserved exclusively for the Emperor) dominated the scene.

 

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The Forbidden City
 


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