China’s Forbidden City is one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring places that I have ever visited and I hope to explore it again in the near future.

Located in the centre of Beijing and quite accessible by public transportation, the Forbidden City now houses the Palace Museum and served as home to Chinese emperors and their households for about 500 years.

When I first visited the city almost three years ago, I did my best to detach myself from my preconceived notions of its scale and appearance.

Doing my best to keep an open mind as I walked into one of humanity’s most renowned architectural wonders, I was immediately astounded by the sheer size, complexity and beauty of its royal architecture.

Its inner walls were far higher than I had imagined and the myriad of various gardens, courts and rooms were overwhelming and I wondered how I would manage to explore a small fraction of the city, let alone its entirety.

As I continued walking through the city’s grounds, I was filled with feelings of admiration and respect for the Chinese architects and builders that constructed it more than seven centuries ago.

I wondered how they attained such precision with minimal technology in comparison to what is presently available and I began imagining the multitude of challenges that they  undoubtedly experienced, including limitations to resources, social unrest and cold Beijing winters (which are quite similar to the winters of southern Ontario).


In addition to its maze-like construction and high volume of moats, secret passages, pavilions, courthouses and rooms, I was especially intrigued by the colours used throughout the city and its amazing stone carvings and sculptures.

Moreover, it was quite apparent to me that the engineers behind the Forbidden City invested a great deal of ingenuity and effort  into every detail of its aesthetics, functionality and structural resilience, taking great care to pay homage to the Chinese schools of cosmology, feng shui and Taoism.

A powerful tribute to Chinese history, the creative and seemingly unlimited power of the human spirit and our desire to experience the realm of the divine, the Forbidden City is one of a kind and I highly recommend it to anyone that visits China.

a j a n i photography: digital image solutions