How It Works

What is China’s Forbidden City?

Situated in Beijing, China, the Forbidden City was known as Zijin Cheng – it was named for the North Star which was thought to be the celestial home of the emperor. Built between 1406-1420, its role as an imperial palace continued for 500 years. Covering 73 hectares (180 acres), it was surrounded by a moat and high walls and played home to many magnificent dynasties. The city could house 9,000 people who served the emperor and his many hundreds of wives. Inside the city, ceremony was carefully observed, and all members of the royal family were revered as gods.

Answered by Bridget McDermott, How It Works contributor.