Forbidden City

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					Built between 1407-1420, the Forbidden City in Beijing,
China was home to the royalty of China for 500 years.
After entering the Meridian Gate, located at the
Southern end of the complex, visitors arrive in
an immense courtyard with five bridges
stretching over the Golden Water. The five
bridges represent the five Confucian virtues of
humanity, sense of duty, wisdom, reliability
and ceremonial propriety.
  Red, the symbolic color of
imperial power, is a dominant
    theme throughout the
        Forbidden City.
 The dragon, a traditional
symbol of imperial power,
 appears throughout the
     Forbidden City.
This gold leaf dragon appeared on the
lower panel of a set of doors on the Gate
of Supreme Harmony, the main entrance
to the Forbidden City's central courtyard.
This turtle dragon
 statue, situated
outside the Hall of
Supreme Harmony,
  is a symbol of
This is a male lion,
one of a pair that
appears throughout
the Forbidden City,
China, and various
other locations.
According to
Chinese convention,
the male lion always
has his right paw
raised and holds a
pomegranate, a
symbol of power.
The female lion
always holds a
lion cub under
her left paw.
Yellow tile roofs
adorned with dragons
are everywhere. The
number of dragons
determined the
importance of a
particular building--the
Hall of Supreme
Harmony, the most
important ceremonial
building in the
Forbidden City, has 12
 The porch of the
   Hall of Middle
  Harmony, where
    the emperor
readied himself for
  major sacrifices
and offerings. The
  Hall of Supreme
 Harmony, with its
  12 dragon roof
 guardians, looms
in the background.
A closer look at the rooftop.
An even closer look at the ubiquitous yellow roof tiles--
  featuring more exquisite detail, and more dragons.
Imperial buildings have yellow roofs, while temple roofs
                        are blue.
   Looking up at the ceiling of the Gate of Supreme Harmony, the largest free-
      standing gate in the Forbidden City. Symbolism abounds in Chinese
architecture--down to the number of nails on a door. The red door, visible in the
 lower left corner of this photograph, has nine rows of nine nails, because nine
    is the imperial lucky number. The Forbidden City itself has 9,999 rooms.
 These doors mark
the entrance to the
Approaching Light
    Left Gate the
  boundary of the
North-West Region
  of the Inner City.
 Their are 81 nails
   on each door.