This page was last updated on: June 26, 2017
Landmarks, Monuments, Hotspots
- Forbidden City District -
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Palace Museum Chinese Ceramics Exhibition
Outer Walls & Gates of the (Purple) Palace
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A Former Part of the Imperial Inner City, now Park o/t Peoples Culture
An affiliated Site - Former Imperial Library
A Former Part of the Imperial Inner City, Famous Tian An Men
A Lesser Gate - the DuanMen
Wider Perimeter & Gates of the Palace
Nightview of an illuminated Tian An Men - the famous Gate of Heavenly Peace at Tian An Men Square and gateway to the Palace Museum.
The Outer Walls and Gates of the current Palace officially begin at Wu Men
- the Southern Gate and Entrance of the Imperial Palace, significantly located halfway between
Click to Enlarge !!
The Northern or XiShiKu Church on its new location. The original Jesuit Church was moved in order to expand the Imperial Palace Grounds.
An affiliated Site - Former Imperial Library
Click Image to Enlarge !!
12 Stories Tall : Wu Men - the Gate of the Meridian with its Five Phoenix Pavilions on Top.
A Satellite based Birds Eye View of Beijing City Center, with added information. Clearly depicted Ancient City Walls, Imperial City Borders, Inner Palace + City Landmarks.
Space Overview with City Ancient Border details
Qian Hai & Lotus Lane
Click to for an Introduction to Qian Hai Lake & Lotus Lane
Hidden away behind and North of Bei Hai Park Imperial Pleasure Garden and World Heritage site, the Lakes of Beijing continue with Qian Hai and Hou Hai Lake (Shishahai Area). Part of the Ancient Main Watersource of Beijing, Qian Hai waters come from HouHai and continue through Bei Hai to the Imperial Palace Golden River. Nowadays Qian Hai is an easy parklike space surrounded by original Hutong and decorated by the Drum Tower. Once a favoured place for Beijing Men to take their Love for a Boat Ride under Moonlight, lately Qian Hai offers a growing number of small Bars, Restaurants & Cafe's that cater to modern needs. Come to Qian Hai on a Hot Summer's Eve to relax and Enjoy the splendid City.
The current Perimeter of the Palace
South to Jingshan Dajie outside ShenWuMen in the North, a distance of 960 meters. The enclosing Wall is 750 meters long from East to West, spanning from Nanchizi Dajie (the location of an interesting affiliated site -the Imperial Library) nearly to Nanchang Jie. The Wall is near 10 meters
Museum grounds is rectangular in
in height, seven-and-a-half meters thick on average and is further enclosed by an impressive, 52 meter wide, but now mudded up Moat. Originally this moat was 6 meters deep.
At each of the four corners of the enclosing wall stands a Watchtower, the design of which is unique to the Imperial  Palace of Beijing.
Thus, the square "Forbidden City" or Purple Forbidden City, the Inner Palace, reaches its 720.000 square meters in surface area.
However, as you may have inferred from our explanations on how to get to the Palace Museum and what the customary first-time route through the Palace is, in the Past the Palace Grounds were larger and included several adjacent structures, many of which can still be found today.
To explain in the easiest and most recognizable way, starting in the South the Palace Perimeter extendeds well beyond the Meridian Gate - Wu Men. As is still clearly recognizable today, the Southern-most Point of the Palace lay at Tian An Men - the Gate of Heavenly Peace, which at the Time was an announcement Gate. The downtrodden public, the ordinary citizen, was kept well outside of TiananMen Gate, where a small river and the five white marble bridges separated the masses from the Great Within (Da Nei). The Gate was then known as Guo Men - Gate of the State and the White Pillars outside of Tian An Men, still standing today, were pillars where the public
could proclaim their complaints to the Emperor and Court. The Public could further hear the official announcements made on behalf of the Emperor shouted down from the Gates gigantic platform.
From Tian An Men, only the invited could proceed, well watched by the Palace Guards. Invited High Officials would proceed from Tian An Men, through Duan Men, to gather outside and underneath of Wu Men, where the Emperor would speak to them from the Gate Platform.
The normal citizen would therefor never see the Emperor, except perhaps when he left on a tour through the City before offering prayers at the Temple of Heaven (Tiantan) (twice a year).
As Tian An Men marks the Southern Point of the Palace and the Perimeter of the Outer Imperial City Wall factually enclosed a much larger square, in the South-West the Zhongshan & Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Parks and the South-East the Park of the Peoples Culture and the Imperial Ancestral Temple were also included in outer Imperial Palace City.
Cross Nanchizi DaJie' once more and find the Eastern side-entrance into the Imperial Ancestral Temple complex, just a bit to the North and inside a hutong-like alley.
From here one can enter the Ancestral Shrine (buy a ticket!), but one can also explore a little bit southward again to find some last remaining Palace Remnants running between the hidden hutong dwellings here. These are officially slated for destruction and old-styled rebirth, however, this little corner hangs on untill today.
This is not a public entrance to The Palace, but Wu Men can be reached from DongHuaMen along the Wall and Moat.
View along Nanchizi Dajie' with its lush green trees. On the left the outer wall of the Imperial Library Vault, the home of the Wanfung Modern Art Gallery.
From the Corner of Nanchizi Jie' and Dong Chang An Avenue Northward extends the Perimeter of the Outer Imperial City and Palace. Follow Nanchizi Jie' northward to find find the Park of the Peoples Culture leading back West inside the Red Wall.
Cut through the Park and continue North on Nachizi Jie' to find an interesting affiliate site to the giant Imperial Palace. Just East and across Nanchizi Jie, just past the Park of the Peoples Culture stands the Former Imperial Library Vault. This Library Vault, was a functional part of the Imperial Palace, however, as a protection against fire-hazzards, it was placed inside its own enclosure, away from the wooden palace structures. As you will note upon your visit, as a further safeguard, the Imperial Library Vault was constructed in stone.
The Imperial Library Vault is open to the Public and is home to the interesting Wanfung Modern Art Gallery of Beijing (other Galleries in Shanghai, HK, etc).
The Stone Imperial Library Vault, due South-East from East Flowery Gate of the Palace Museum.
Go to Satellite View of of Zhong Hai and Nan Hai Lakes - Not open to The Public !!
ZhongNanHai - Zhong Hai and Nan Hai (Lakes) Satellite Image and Map, A unique view into China's Secluded Leadership compound "ZhongNanHai" - with Zhong Hai and Nan Hai Lake, part of the ancient watersource of the Imperial Capital of Beijing within (Satellite Image).
Appreciate the Unique Imperial Gardens design and Lay-out, compare with Beihai and other Northern lakes. YingTai Island visible in the South Lake.
This Area is not accesible to the Public.
Follow Nanchizi Dajie' further Northward to end up just East of Dong Hua Men, the Eastern Flowery Gate of the Forbidden City.
These structures taken together form the larger Palace or what is known as the Outer Palace & Wall.
Click Image to Enlarge !
In the East, the Wall can still be recognized as well. Leading away from TiananMen Gate eastward, the Outer Red Wall first gives access North through a colorful Ceremonial Gate to the Imperial Ancestral Temple. Usually missed by first Time visitors due to the many Times more Impressive Site of the wellknown TianAnMen, the Imperial Ancestral Temple was a very important part of the Imperial Palace Architecture. Here the sacred tablets of representing the spirits of the Imperial Families' Ancestors and deceased Emperors were kept safe and were worshipped on a daily basis. Explore the Site during a later visit to the huge Imperial compound.
Heading Due East along the Red Outer Wall past the Imperial Ancestral Temple, the visitor moves along the Park of the Peoples' Culture, which is located inside the Outer Perimeter Wall and pleasantly hidden away from busy Dong Chang An Avenue. Here the first intersecting street leading North is Nanchizi Dajie'.
Symetrical with the Western Flank of Tian An Men, well inside the corner of Nanchizi DaJie', the second minor Gate overarching Dong Chang An (East Eternal Peace) Avenue was located. In the recent past, some remnants of this minor gate were recognizable here. However, they were cleared somewhere after the year 2002 AD during the construction of a new Ministry at Chang An Avenue's south side and none can be found today.
On this spot, from the south side of Dong Chang An Avenue, leading away from the minor West Gate, a Red Wall ran along behind what is now the National Museum of History (before: the Museum of the Revolution and Chinese History) to form the Western Seperation Wall of the so-called "(Foreign) Legation Quarter". This latter part however was in no way a part of the Outer Palace perimeter, but nothing more than a minor city seperating wall. The Western Legation Wall was layed to waste during the 1900 AD Boxer War, leaving only the Gate at Dong Chang An Avenue plus some meters of Wall.

To Enter the Park of the Peoples Culture one has continue ones walk along the Red Wall (and Dong Chang An Avenue) untill reaching Nanheyan DaJie' and the modern day Grand Hotel Beijing, where the Eastern Entrance of the Peoples Culture Park is located.
In the West, a Red Wall leads away from TiananMen Gate to the Gate of what is now Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park and even beyond. Here the Red OuterWall crosses NanChang Jie to continue to the Gate of New China (XinHua Men) at ZhongNanHai and further, including the ZhongNanHai compound in the whole. The Western Wall only ends at the corner of FuYou Jie', the Road and Wall leading North along the West Banks of Zhong Hai and Nan Hai Lakes.
Inside the Western Outer Wall, at Sun Yat-Sen Park, the Square Altar was located, remnants of which can still be visited at the Park.
As can be seen in some of the old Films of the Grand Military Reviews at Tian An Men, in The Past, the Space of South of Tian An Men Gate, now TiananMen Square (and originally much smaller), was seperated to the West & East by two minor red wall gates arching over Chang An Avenue.
Of these, the Western Gate and Wall were removed during the construction of the Great Hall of The Peoples (Renmin DaHui Tang). No remnants of it are recognizable at this Time.
XinHua Men, The Gate of New China, south ceremonial Gate to ZhongNanHai Park and Palace, since 1949 AD the residency of the Chinese Political Leadership. In the Past a part of the extended Imperial Palace of the Ching Dynasty. Famous residents - The imprisoned  Guanxu Emperor and Chairman Mao Zedong.
At Times, the Palace extended even further. During both Ming and Ching Dynasties many Minor and some very Major changes were made inside the Purple Forbidden City Palace. However, during the Ching Dynasty, the original Palace was enlarged and extended, first northward, then mainly west-ward.
Before ZhongNanhai, west of the current day Palace Museum, became the Leadership Residence Compound of the Peoples Republic of China in 1949 AD, it was part of the extended Imperial Palace of the (later) Ching Dynasty. During the Reign of Emperor Qianlong, The Imperial Palace was extended west-ward to include the Zhong Hai and Nan Hai lakes and their Western Banks.
In 1887 AD, the original main Christian Church in Beijing, the Jesuit Cathedral located at CaiShiKou on the western banks of what is now ZhongNanHai (since the early Ming Dynasty), had to be demolished, relocated and entirely rebuilt to enlarge the Palace further. Find a much larger and newer Church at new Location at XishiKu Northern Church.

Clearly visible on satellite images of Area ( See Image 1 / See Image 2 Purple Forbidden City = Palace Museum ), the ZhongNanHai Palace Complex connects directly to the Purple Forbidden Cities' West Flowery Gate (Xi Hua Men) / Gate of Western Glory, that gives access to the Hall of Military Eminence (Wu Ying Dian), a part of the Outer Court of the original Ming Dynasty Palace. In the Past there was no north-south seperating road, and one could easily move in and out of the Palace Walls to enjoy the Lake and Parks at ZhongNanHai.
View of Jingshan and its Park looking North along the Imperial Cities'  Central Axis from ShenWu Men, the Northern Gate of Divine Military Might.
Click Map to go to Full Version + Explanations
Schematic Map of the 1900 AD Legation Quarter, the Legations and current day Remnants. Summary of Main Streets included - Now Available, Click Map !
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This page was last updated on: June 26, 2017
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The Imperial City of Old Beijing
Go to Satellite View of The Palace Museum of Beijing (2 Maps !)
The Palace Museum - Inner & Outer Imperial Palace Perimeter Map,Quick Navigate using this unique satellite image overview of the Palace Museum Perimeter and the greater Imperial Palace Area.
- The Palace Museum (1) Main Index and Introduction
- The Palace Museum (2) Earliest History of the Imperial Palace of Beijing
                                     (3) Imperial Palace of the Qing Dynasty (1644 AD - 1924 AD)

- The Palace Museum (4) Wider Perimeter, Outer Walls & Gates of The Imperial City
- The Palace Museum (5) Outer Walls & Gates of the Palace, the "Purple Forbidden
- The Palace Museum (6) Wai Chou - Outer Court
- The Palace Museum (7) Nei Ting - Inner Court
- The Palace Museum (8) Yu Huan Yuan - Main Palace Garden
- The Palace Museum (9) Palace Museum Collections & Exhibitions

- The Palace Museum (10) Architectural Structures
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