Forbidden City
Meridian Gate (inside)

The Forbidden City, Beijing, China

Inside the Meridian Gate

The Meridian Gate is very grand, with five openings, and is the largest and main gate of the Forbidden City.

The gate is 35.6 meters high and surmounted by five pavilions. Because each pavillion resembles a pheonix, this gate is also known as WuFengLou, which means 'Five Phoenix Tower'.



There were strict rules to follow when people entered the Forbidden City. Entering through the central opening was the emperors' exclusive privilege; their empresses were allowed to go through the opening only once - on their wedding day.

The top three in the national examinations, presided by the emperor in the final stage, would be allowed to pass through the central arch once on leaving after meeting the emperor.



The east opening was for the ministers while the west opening was for the royal family. The other openings were for other officials. Ordinary people were absolutely forbidden to enter the city.


Today, however, visitors enter through the central tunnel and, in doing so, one gets a first glimpse of the vast spaces and grand structures within the Forbidden City.


Entering through the central arch.

In the pavilions are drums that were used to announce an emperor's departure to the Temple of Heaven and bells to announce his departure to the Ancestral Temple. Both would toll to announce that the emperor was going to receive his ministers in the Hall of Supreme Harmony (TaiHeDian)


The Meridian Gate as seen from the Gate of Supreme Harmony across the first courtyard.

Next :The First Couryard

Forbidden City

Forbidden City
: Introduction
Forbidden City : History
Forbidden City : Layout
Forbidden City : Map
Getting there

The Meridian Gate (outside)
The Meridian Gate (inside)
The First Courtyard
The Gate of Supreme Harmony

The Second Courtyard
The Hall of Supreme Harmony (part 1)
The Hall of Supreme Harmony (part 2)
The Hall of Complete Harmony
The Hall of Preserving Harmony

The Large Stone Carving

The Gate of Celestial Purity
The Hall of Celestial Purity
The Hall of Celestial and Terrestrial Union
The Hall of Terrestrial Tranquility
The Imperial Garden
The Imperial Garden (part 2)

The Exhibition Halls
The 9 Dragon Screen
Other Places of Interest

Doorways (part 2)
Decorative Tiles
Beams and Ceilings
Windows and Doors
Walls & Screens

Sunset at the Forbidden City

Beijing Guide

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