Discovery of the Forbidden City
In this program, we will take a walking tour of the Forbidden City Wall which was recently opened. Start with a 10-minute walk from East Palace Gate to the South Gate, the main entrance.
First, visit the The Belvedere of Literary Profundity (Wenyuan Ge). It is a bibliotheca behind the Hall of Literary Brilliance (Wenhua dian). It was constructed in 1776, the forty-first year of the Qianlong reign (1736-1795), modeling on the renowned Belvedere of Heaven's First Creation (Tianyi ge) in Zhejiang province.
Next, visit The Palace of Heavenly Purity (Pu Yi's abdication room). This is a smaller version of the Hall of Supreme Harmony. As it was deemed inferior to the Hall of Supreme Harmony everything within it is smaller than similar items in the superior palace. However, it is the largest palace in the Inner Court of Forbidden City and it is superior to any other structures there. Next, proceed to the Hall of Clocks and Watches - a home to a fantastic collection of Qing Dynasty (Eighteenth Century) timepieces. The exhibition hall displays about 200 clocks and watches from the imperial collection. These clocks and watches were mostly made in Switzerland, England, France, and Japan, with some Chinese made timepieces on display as well.
Afterwards, visit the Nine Dragon Wall at the east of the Outer Court and Hall of Preserving Harmony. This wall is a relatively recent addition to the Forbidden City built in 1773 as a part of a large renovation of the northeastern section of the palace to create a retirement villa for Emperor Qianlong. The Nine Dragon Wall, was built to provide privacy by blocking the view through the Gate of Imperial Supremacy (Huangji men) into the Palace of Tranquil Longevity (Ningshou gong).
Past the wall is the House of Treasure (Treasure Gallery). The Gallery lies on the north-south axis of the Palace of Tranquil Longevity Area (Qianlong Garden) in the northeast of the Palace Museum. Get through the Gate of Spiritual Cultivation (Yangxingmen), to the north of the Palace of Tranquil Longevity (Ningshougong), one can easily find it consisting of three exhibition halls: the Hall of Spiritual Cultivation (Yangxingdian), the Hall of Joyful Longevity (Leshoutang), which were living quarters for the Imperial Regent, the consorts and concubines, and the Belvedere of Well-Nourished Harmony (Yihexuan). These three halls now house gold, silver, pearls, jade, utensils, tea services, imperial robe, phoenix crown, daily necessities as well as furnishings of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) imperial family. To the north of the gallery lies the Jingqi Chamber.
Guest will also be to see the Belvedere of Pleasant Sounds (Changyin), which is the largest opera theatre in the Forbidden City. Now the whole courtyard where it stands is reserved for the Opera Gallery in which the exhibition Opera at the Qing Court is on display all year round. Walk north then you will find the Concubine Zhen Well or the Zhenfei Well. This well was named after the "Imperial Concubine" Zhenfei of the Guangzhu emperor.
Lastly, visit the Hall of Gathering Excellence (the Chu Xiu Gong). This Hall was originally known as the Palace of Longevity and It acquired its current name in the year 1535 A.D. and rebuilt in 1655. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, it was the residence of Empress and Imperial Concubines.