Built-in 1420 during the early Ming Dynasty, The Forbidden City lies at the very heart of China. This palace complex is recognized as the world’s largest ancient palatial structure. As its name suggests, long ago common people were not granted access to enter the building without the permission of imperial families. Only those who were officially invited could have access.
As you walk through its grandiose walls and halls, the very essence and pinnacle of the traditional Chinese architecture is felt. The building in itself is a masterpiece of the Chinese architecture.
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All the gates are outstandingly decorated with a nine –by-nine range of gilded door-studs. The number nine is very significant in Chinese culture. It symbolizes sovereignty and eternity.
During those times, the emperor was considered to be the son of Heaven, hence it was believed that supreme power showered blessings on him. Significantly, his residence was built in the north direction which was thought to be home to the Celestial Emperor.
Animals are of paramount importance to the Chinese people. The Forbidden City consists of rows of auspicious animal statues such as dragons, lions and phoenixes. These statues are place along roof ridges of the halls to summon prosperity and good fortune.
When you visit the Forbidden City, you will find it strange that birds cannot land on the roofs of the Forbidden City and this is because the roofs have been built with special designs to prevent birds from landing on them.
This is actually intentional so as to maintain cleanliness and splendor of the Forbidden City. The slope of each roof is higher than the other and its tiles are slippery, hence making it impossible for birds to land.
While the birds have no entry to the Forbidden City, the cats are the favourite of that place. Concubines used to keep cats in the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Even after the dynasties’ collapse, the cats continued to remain as special guards there as they moved around to chase away. In short, the cats there are the offspring of those royal cats.