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The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City

In 1404, the Emperor Yongle ordered that a new capital city be built in the location of Cambaluc, which he renamed Beijing. From 1404 until 1420, workers worked night and day to construct the fabulous new city.

A painting of the Forbidden City

Protected by massive walls, and lined with beautiful buildings, parks and streets, Beijing was among the most elaborate and comfortable cities in the world. Deep within Beijing was a smaller city, surrounded by walls and by a moat. This city was called the Forbidden City, and was the home of the Emperor and his family.

The Forbidden City consisted of thousands of acres and dozens of palaces, with many thousands of elaborately decorated rooms. This estate was rarely visited by anyone who was not a member of the royal family.

The Forbidden City was expansive and beautiful

Later Ming emperors never left the city and rarely attended to their responsibilities, but instead opted to live out their lives in comfort within their forbidden city. This allowed corruption to enter the government without the knowledge of the emperors, and led to economic and civil problems within China.

The breakdown of law and order within China allowed the Manchus from Manchuria to invade and conquer China, ending the Ming Dynasty.