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Forbidden City Beijing China

The Forbidden City, located in the middle of Beijing, China, is the largest surviving palace complex. It was the Chinese imperial palace from the mid-Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty and now houses the Palace Museum. For almost five centuries, it served as the home of the Emperor and his household, as well as the ceremonial and political centre of Chinese government. Built from 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 surviving buildings with 8,707 rooms and covers 720,000 square meters. The Forbidden City is surrounded by a 7.9-metre high city wall and a six-metre deep, 52-metre wide moat. The palace complex exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia beyond. The Forbidden City remains important today in the civic scheme of Beijing. The central north-south axis remains the central axis of Beijing. This axis extends to the south through Tiananmen gate to Tiananmen Square, the ceremonial centre of the Peoples Republic of China. The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987 and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. In recent years, the presence of commercial enterprises in the Forbidden City has become controversial. A Starbucks store, which opened in 2000, sparked objections and eventually closed in 2007. Chinese media also took notice in 2006 of a pair of souvenir shops that refused to admit Chinese citizens in order to price-gouge foreign customers.

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