The Forbidden City is located at the heart of Beijing, China’s capital city. It is currently the world’s largest surviving enclosed palace, the world’s largest wooden architectural complex and the world’s largest museum. The Forbidden City is the only palace in Chinese history that survived the changing tides of dynastic rule with minimal damage. It measures 753 meters from the east to the west and 961 meters from the north to the south, arriving at a total area of 720,000 square meters. If we factor in the buffer areas next to the city wall and the palace moat, then the total area increases to 991,185 square meters, an area so large that 140 soccer games could be played here simultaneously.
The Forbidden City was constructed after the third Ming dynasty emperor, Yongle, relocated his court from Nanjing to Beijing in 1403. It was built on the original grounds of the Mongol Yuan dynasty’s Dadu Palace. The design and engineering of the Forbidden City lasted a long ten years, but construction only took four years. (It was completed in 1420.) 100,000 skilled craftsmen and over a million laborers worked on the project at different geographical locations. The fruits of their labor were then assembled on site in Beijing. It was the last of the ancient engineering marvels in wooden architectural construction.
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