Forbidden City
First Courtyard

The Forbidden City, Beijing, China

The First Courtyard and Inner Golden River

After entering the Meridian Gate, located at the Southern end of the complex, visitors arrive in an immense courtyard that begins with five bridges stretching over the 'Inner Golden River'.


On the east side looking north.

In part, the five bridges represent the five Confucian virtues of humanity, sense of duty, wisdom, reliability and (ceremonial) propriety.

Further, the central bridge is reserved for emperors exclusively. The two flanking it are reserved for royal family members while the two outer ones are for ordinary officials. The bridges are well decorated with marble balustrades carved with motifs of dragon and phoenix.



The river serves as fire hydrant in case of fire as well as serving the principles of FengShui and decoration. Its bed and sides are paved with white stone to enhance the beauty of the water.According to the principles of Feng Shui, the ideal location for a home is facing south with water in front (the Golden River) and a mountain or hill behind (JingShan).


The huge courtyard covers a space of over 10,000 square meters. The grand size was both to accommodate large numbers of people on ceremonial occasions and to create a sense of imperial majesty.


The 5 bridges, with the Gate of Supreme Harmony across the courtyard.

The Inner Golden River continues on each side of the first courtyard.

Next : The Gate of Supreme Harmony

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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