The Palace Museum in the center of Beijing is historically and artistically one of the most comprehensive museums in China, and uses as its foundation the Forbidden City, a palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1840), and their collection of treasures.
Designated by the State Council (China's Cabinet) as one of the country's foremost protected monuments in 1961, the Palace Museum was also made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.
The Forbidden City was the imperial palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties. It is nearly 600 years old, with construction started in 1406 and completed in 1420. The principles of Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese system of geomancy, governed the process.
The rectangular palace covers an area of some 720,000 square meters -- 961 meters in length and 760 meters in width. It has a total of 9,999.5 rooms (an area enclosed by four poles). In 1924, the imperial family of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1840) was removed from the Forbidden City, and in 1925 the Palace Museum was established.
According to a 28-volume inventory published in 1925, the treasure trove left by the Qing numbered more than 1.17 million items. Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, the museum authorities decided to evacuate its collection rather than let it fall into hands of the Japanese invaders or risk destruction in battle.
For four frantic months between February and May 1933, the most important pieces in the collection were packed into 13,427 crates and 64 bundles and sent to Shanghai in five batches. From there they were dispatched to Nanjing where a depository was built and a branch of the Palace Museum established.
As for the collection of antiquities, a systematic inventory was completed during the 1950s and 1960s, redressing the legacy of inaccurate cataloguing of former times.
After more than a decade of painstaking effort, some 710,000 relics from the Qing palace were retrieved. At the same time, through national allocations, requisitions and private donations, more than 220,000 additional pieces of cultural significance were added.
The Palace Museum is China's largest museum. It houses a collection of 1 million valuable art works, most of which were in the possession of the imperial families of the Ming and Qing dynasties. These art treasures include paintings, pottery, bronze wares, gold and silver wares, embroidery, sculptures, jade wares, lacquer wares and lacquer enamel wares.
In addition, there are also court articles, including jewels, accessories, clocks, medicines, furniture and furnishings. It is aunique, superb building complex, integrating the outstanding achievements of ancient Chinese architecture.
Opening Time: 8:30 -- 17:00 (Last Entry at 16:00) during April 1 and Oct. 14
8:30 -- 16:30 (Last Entry at 15:30) during Oct. 15 and March 31
Entry ticket: 60 yuan/person during April 1 and Oct. 31 (busy season)
40 yuan/person during Nov. 1 andMarch 31 (slow season)