The Forbidden City, or Gugong that is Old Palace, is located close to Tiananmen Square in Beijing. It was the summer palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties: the name comes from the fact that it was closed to common Chinese for about 500 years. Night and day there were flames warming pans that wrapped the Palace with thick smoke in order to increase the mysterious atmosphere around the Emperor. The Forbidden City is a huge citadel formed by palaces, temples, libraries, pavilions and a huge garden. It is divided into an outer court, used for ceremonies, and an inner court where the emperor and his family lived. Passing through the south gate, the Gate of Supreme Harmony, there are the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Hall of Central Harmony and the Hall of Preserving Harmony. The inner court is smaller and formed by the Palace of Heavenly Purity, the Hall of Union, and the Palace of Earthly Tranquillity. If you visit Beijing don't miss also the temple of heaven, the summer palace and the lama temple.
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