Gugong – Forbidden City
Forbidden City (Gugong) is in the center of the capital of China – Beijing, north of the famous Tiananmen Square. According to prayer: “Heaven meets Earth, wind and rain come together and Ying and Yang live in harmony here”. This palace of the emperor is the world’s largest palace by number of rooms and is about 600 years old.
During the reign of the Ming and Qing one of the main religious rituals of emperors was praying. The emperor was considered sacred, born by Mother Earth and Father Heaven, so he alone was allowed to worship the god of the earth and the god of the sky.
The Yongle Emperor (personal name Zhu Di or Chu Ti), who ruled from 1403 to 1423, ordered to build a wonderful temple close to the center of Beijing. The construction began in 1406 and was completed 14 years later. Walls, fences, roofs were constructed by around a million workers. In 1420 the building was ready but it was forbidden to cross its borders for mere mortals. Only the emperor and his family, eunuchs, concubines, guards and servants could be there.
The roofs of the palace were yellow, and the common people believed that they were covered with pure gold. The exterior walls of the palace were painted red. For the Chinese, this color means solemnity.
Forbidden City is a giant rectangle, with a length of 960 m and a width of 760 m. The entire palace complex is surrounded by the ditch, which length is 3800 m and it is 52 m wide.
The emperor ordered to make 9,999 rooms and a half. The number 9 was particularly revered in ancient China. Number ten was a number of Heavens. The emperors couldn’t have 10 thousand rooms because it was impossible to compare themselves to mortal gods. When the palace was ready the Emperor tried to count the number of rooms, but soon became tired and asked the architect. The answer was 9,999 rooms and a half. But in fact, there were only 8,728 rooms and a half. The architect lost count when they were created.
There are 980 temple buildings in the Forbidden City. The largest palace complex in the world is included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage of humanity. It is one of the most famous landmarks in the world.