top of page
  • Writer's pictureMags Rafael-Salvador

Squares and more in Forbidden City

Updated: Oct 5, 2020

Part 1

It’s my first time in China, and naturally would want to see more of what China is all about other than Chinese food which we are so familiar with in the Philippines. It's spring time and I'm loving the weather. Tiananmen Square is also well known as the Forbidden City.

The Tiananmen Square is located at the center of Beijing City. The area is so wide, that I stood in the middle contemplating on how to start the tour. It has an area of 440,000 square meters and has become a welcome place for the tourist and local residents to spend their leisure time to walk, people watch and maybe fly kites. I was told that it’s most full on holidays and the whole square is covered with fresh flowers.

It’s so huge that it felt I wouldn’t be able to finish it in one day, and enter all the museums and halls. Aside from the Tiananmen Tower, there’s the Monument to the People’s Heroes, Great Hall of the People, and Mao Ze Dong Memorial Hall. If you arrive early in square you would be able to witness the national flag raising ceremony headed by the guard of Honor with all the visitors paying respect and the soldiers stop in their marching to salute.

The Square is actually the Front door of the Forbidden City, you cannot go inside the Forbidden City without passing the square. In it’s centre would be the Monument to People’s Heroes which more of like resembles our Rizal Park. It is considered as the largest monument in China’s history, it is simple and yet picturesque at the same time.

The Great Hall of People is west of the square and the marble posts in front, crystal lamp hanging from the ceiling reflects how well-made and mighty it is. The site is where China National People’s Congress, diplomatic and political activities are held. Even the Great Auditorium which has 10,000 seats is behind the Central Hall. Imagine filling in those seats with people while doing a talk!

At the south side of the square is the Memorial Hall of Chairman Mao. In one of the halls, his body lies in a crystal coffin with fresh flowers around. There is also the National Museum of China which regretfully, I wasn’t able to explore.

Few mores steps towards the North of the Square comes the Forbidden City. Now this definitely is where I will spend the rest of the day. What with the extensiveness of its Gates and Halls where history of China across all dynasty’s you shall see.

Though my memory seems to be working well, this time I cannot memorize all the structures as they all seem to look alike. And as a matter of fact, as huge as Forbidden City is, you can actually get lost in it. In the gates, I had to pay around RMB 70 or less than 600 pesos for entrance fee.

The first gate I entered was the Meridian Gate or the gate of Divine Powers which also serves as the main gate of the imperial city. There were water bridges (now a days without the presence of water) after the gates. Upon entering, all I can say was “WOW” as I saw a humongous space of walls and pavement made of cobblestones. I imagined this would be the space where the military or soldiers or whatever you call the people serving during the medieval era had their formation while taking orders from Emperors.

Here is what's waiting for you inside: The Axis:

Meridian Gate - Gate of Divine Prowess (one hour) (Meridian Gate → Inner Golden water Bridge → Gate of Harmony, Gate of Prosperous Harmony → Hall of Literary Glory → Hall of Martial Valor → Gate of Supreme Harmony → Pavilion of Embodying Benevolence, Hall of Spreading Righteousness → Hall of Supreme Harmony → Hall of Central Harmony → Hall of Preserved Barmony → Gate of Heavenly purity – Palace of Heavenly Purity → Hall of Celestial and terrestrial Union → Palace of Earthly Tranquility → Imperial Garden → Gate of Divine Prowess)

Following the route suggested by the tour guides - this is the most idyllic routing when touring the Forbidden City, entry on the Meridian Gate then you will see the most impressive imperial buildings facing your direction. As per what I read, this was also named Five-Phoenix Tower, which I believe encompasses the five pavilion structure which resembles a phoenix. Once inside, there appear the Inner Golden Water Bridges, white marble bridges which has intricate carvings and draped walls.

There's more to Forbidden City to my next travel blog.

* This article was originally published at

17 views0 comments
bottom of page