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World Heritage in China Riddles in Forbidden City

Riddles in Forbidden City

Forbidden City
Forbidden City

As the exclusive residence of emperor s of Ming and Qing Dynasties, Forbidden City so far has nearly 580 years of history. There were 24 emperors living in this world-largest imperial palace complex. Both serving as the place for holding national ceremonies, meeting the officials as well as administrating the whole nation, Forbidden City is the home of emperors, empresses and concubines. It has 3 kilometers long and its palace wall is 10 meters high. There are a lot of riddles still haunting people at present. Some of them are quite interesting.

Why is it called Forbidden City based on The Oneness of Heaven and Human?
This is the most traditional and basic thinking of the relation between human society and nature. Chinese people think the theory of oneness of heaven and human as well as interaction of human and heaven. Therefore, Forbidden City was built following the structure of heavenly palaces. In Chinese ancient astronomy, the stars were divided into San Huan(三垣) surrounded with 28 Xiu. Among them, Ziwei Huan or Polaris is located at the center and the center of all Xingxiu as well. Hence, Forbidden City, in Chinese Zi Jin Cheng(紫禁城), Zi(紫)means the Ziwei Huan which symbolizes the superiority and authority, and Jin(禁)means the exclusiveness and solemnity of the palaces where emperors lived.

How many rooms does the Forbidden City have?
The rooms in Forbidden City are incalculable. Someone says it has 9999 rooms and someone says it has 9999 and a half room. Now that where is the half room in Forbidden City? Actually, the half room is a tiny room on the west of Wen Yuan Ge. In fact, the half room does not exist at all. This small room is too tiny to be a whole room, so it is widely seen as the half room. Wen Yuan Ge was the storeroom of Si Ku Quan Shu, which at the time was the largest book system in the world but burnt a lot by foreign invaders and domestic insurgents. Scientifically, there are in total 8600 rooms in Forbidden City!

Where is the Cold Palace(冷宫) in Forbidden City?
The Forbidden City visitors mostly curiously ask where the cold palace is. Actually most visitors want to visit the real life of Emperor, which is famous for Three Palace, Six Gardens and 72 Concubines. . Three Palaces are Qianqing Palace, Jiaotai Hall and Kunning Palace. Six Gardens are Zhai Palace, Jingren Palace, Chengqian Palace, Zhongcui Palace, Jingyang Palace and Yonghe Palace. “72 concubines” means a lot of ladies loved by Emperor, but once they became estranged, they would be forced to move into Cold Palace to lead a harsh and isolated life till their death. Speaking of the location of Cold Palace, the views are different. Someone thinks Qianqing Palace and Changchun Palace are the Cold Palace. Someone says the Cold Palace is not fixed.

Why have the trees been never planted in Three Palaces?
Three palaces (Tai He Dian, Zhong He Dian and Bao He Dian) were forbidden to plant trees. The reasons are diversified. Someone said old men worried that the evil figures would hide behind the trees to hit Emperor. But why are Yang Xin Dian and Yu Hua Yuan featured with the old pine trees? Some one once wrote an article professionally talking about why the trees are forbidden to be planted in three palaces. The reason is that it is for stressing the solemnity and magnificence of the Forbidden City and the unsurpassable superiority of Emperors.

Writer: David from Seeraa International
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