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Photographer's Note

The Forbidden City or Forbidden Palace, located at the exact center of the ancient city of Beijing, was the imperial palace during the mid-Ming and the Qing Dynasties. Known now as the Palace Museum , its extensive grounds cover 720,000 square meters, 800 buildings and more than 8,000 rooms. As such, it is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world, and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987 as the "Imperial Palace of the Ming and Qing Dynasties". The imperial palace grounds are located directly to the north of Tiananmen Square and are accessible from the square via Tiananmen Gate. It is surrounded by a large area called the Imperial City.

Although no longer occupied by royalty, the Forbidden City remains a symbol of Chinese sovereignty and the image of its entrance gate appears on the seal of the People's Republic of China. The Palace Museum is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world. Recently, the site has been under much renovation which has limited visitors to the main courtyards and a few gardens.

The Palace Museum in the Forbidden City should not be confused with the National Palace Museum in Taiwan. Both museums derive from the same institution, but were split after the Chinese Civil War.

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Additional Photos by Stephane Olgiati (stefpat) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 70 W: 1 N: 36] (1024)
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