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Forbidden City
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    (1422- )
    Located in the center of Beijing
    Completed with the labor of over 200,000 Chinese in 14 years
    720,000 square meters, 800 buildings and 9,999 rooms
    Residence of fourteen Ming Dynasty imperial governments (1422-1644)
    Residence of ten Qing Dynasty imperial governments (1644-1912)
    Last to reign in the city was Emperor Puyi
    Also known as the Purple Forbidden City, Imperial Palace, Forbidden Palace and Palace Museum
    First motion picture to be filmed here was Bertolucci's 'The Last Emperor (1987)'
    One of the world's most popular tourist destinations
    It was a massive and mostly unnecessary glorification of imperial might.
    Like most imperial China operations, it cost many lives to build.
    Though it was built by the Chinese people, for centuries only the Emperor and his cronies were allowed inside.
    Anyone caught trying to enter was executed.
    Most of the men living inside were castrated.
    They only stopped building rooms at 9,999 because according to legend only Heaven is supposed to have 10,000 rooms.
    It actually has 9,999 1/2 rooms, as one of the rooms just contains a staircase.
    In its later years it basically acted as a prison for the Emperor.
    Many of those serving the Emperor sold treasures during its final years and looted it of some of its artifacts for the money.
    Chiang Kai-shek took some of its treasures with him to Taiwan.
    In its glory days it was the center of Chinese politics. Today it is the Chinese Disney World and one needs to purchase a ticket to enter.
    A giant photo of Chairman Mao hangs at the entrance and requires yearly re-painting of his mole.
    Commoners were finally allowed inside (1911).
    It is a source of pride for China.
    It is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.
    There are trees inside that are over 300 years old.
    Its walls were built to withstand canon fire and allowed for no sound from the outside.
    At one point over 10,000 lived inside.
    Smoke signals were sent up from the Great Wall as a way of communicating with those inside.
    The 'Hall of Supreme Harmony' is the largest wood structure in China.
    It was the setting of 'The Last Emperor' which won nine Academy Awards.
    Queen Elizabeth II was unable to visit it because Chinese officials considered the filming of 'The Last Emperor' the top priority (that'll teach her).
    It is the largest palace in the world.

Credit: Captain Howdy

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