China: Around The Nation

More ‘secret’ courtyards in Forbidden City to be opened to the public

Plan is to have 85 per cent of iconic ancient complex available for viewing by 2025, Beijing says

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 January, 2017, 2:05pm
UPDATED : Monday, 12 June, 2017, 12:53pm

More “secret” courtyards in Beijing’s Forbidden City are to be opened to the public, according to a recently released government plan, bringing the total open area to 85 per cent of the total by 2025, The Beijing News reported on Thursday.

At present, about one third of the ancient Imperial Palace remains behind shut behind doors.

These mysterious locations have prompted speculation over the years, such as the government kept them closed because they were haunted.

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But the Forbidden City administrators offer a more prosaic explanation: the areas have stayed closed mainly due to their poor state of preservation, making them an eyesore for tourists and diminishing the glorious image of ancient Chinese civilization.

One closed location is the Jianfu mini-palace, home to Pu Yi, the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1912) after Nationalist soldiers overthrew the throne.

The overall purpose of the government’s plan is to protect and restore the Forbidden City to its original condition.

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A building occupied by the People’s Liberation Army to shield a swimming pool in the Zhongnanhai leaders’ compound next to the Forbidden City from public view would be demolished, according to previous reports.

Some of the newly opened areas will limit the number of daily visitors as they contain valuable artifacts in fragile conditions.

According to the authorities, the biggest challenge to restoring the Forbidden City was not money, but the loss of craftsmanship.