Inscribed : 1987
Brief description: Seat of supreme power for over five centuries, the Imperial Palace, with its landscaped gardens and many buildings whose 9,000 rooms contain furniture and works of art, constitutes a priceless testimony to Chinese civilization during the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
The Imperial Palace contains the world's largest group of intact palace structures make largely of timber. It was listed as a world cultural heritage site in 1987. Construction of the palace began in 1406, the fourth year of the reign of Ming Emperor Yongle, and it was completed 14 years later. In the years that followed, 24 emperors have ascended the throne and the last emperor, Pu Yi, was driven from the palace in 1924. The year after the palace was converted into a museum and opened to the public.
Covering a rectangular area of 720,000 square meters the museum stretches 960 meters from north to south and 750 meters from east to west. There are 9,999 and a half, towers, buildings and pavilions and a total combined floor space of 150,000 square meters. The dark red outer wall is 3,400 meters long and at the corners there are four corner towers. Around the palace there is a city moat.
The structures in the palace were all built on the meridian line and there is an Inner Palace and an Outer Palace. The main buildings in the Outer Palace are three halls the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Hall of Complete Harmony and the Hall of Preserving Harmony. All of them were built on an eight-meter-high platform and they occupy a total area of 85,000 square meters. The Hall of Supreme Harmony is the largest of three, with a floor space of 2,377 square meters. It is 35 meters high, 63 meters long and 33.33 meters wide. The hall is the largest timber structure in the country.