Forbidden City,  Beijing - China  June.2014

The Forbidden City is a palace complex in Dongcheng District, Beijing, China, and with a total area of 720,000 square meters, it is the largest palace in the world. Today, the Forbidden City houses the Palace Museum, and was the former Chinese imperial palace and winter residence of the Emperor of China from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty, between 1420 and 1924. The Forbidden City served as the home of Chinese emperors and their households and was the ceremonial and political center of the Chinese government for almost 500 years. Constructed from 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 buildings, encompassing 9,999 rooms and covering 72 hectares. The palace exemplifies the opulence of the residences of the Chinese emperor and the traditional Chinese palatial architecture and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987 and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. Since 1925, the Forbidden City has been under the charge of the Palace Museum, whose extensive collection of artwork and artifacts was built upon the imperial collections of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Part of the museum's former collection is now in the National Palace Museum in Taipei. Both museums descend from the same institution but were split after the Chinese Civil War. The Forbidden City's market value has been estimated at more than $70 billion, making it both the world's most valuable palace and the most valuable piece of real estate anywhere in the world. (

"I have two days to tour Beijing before my train trips inside China. My goal today is the Forbidden City. It is within walking distance from the hotel I stayed. When viewed from the outside, it is very difficult to estimate its size. After the entrance door where Chairman Mao's large poster hangs, there is a large courtyard and where it ends there is a building complex. When you go there by wandering, you come in of the door to a similar courtyard, and it continues like this. You continue to travel one way. In the Forbidden City, which I entered at 14 o'clock, I wandered around 17, which was closing time, and took photos. Still, I cannot say that I wandered literally. It is a huge area and you need at least two days to visit it. 24.June.2014"