At the northern end of the Forbidden City is the Imperial Garden, where emperors and their consorts could retreat to read, relax, sip tea and stroll among the tightly woven landscape of rockeries, walkways, pavilions and ancient, carbuncular cypresses.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby attractions

1. Hall of Imperial Peace

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This attractive double-eaved hall is the only Taoist temple located on the central axis of Beijing.

2. Palace of Earthly Tranquillity

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This palace was originally the residence of the empress, and in later times became the imperial couple’s bridal chamber (they only spent the first two…

3. Shunzhen Gate

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Small gate leading to the Gate of Divine Prowess, which serves as the Forbidden City's north exit.

4. Hall of Union

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The middle of the three outer halls, the Hall of Union was the place for the empress to receive greetings from her high-ranking subjects during major…

5. Palace of Gathered Elegance

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This hall contains interesting photos of the last emperor Puyi, who lived here as a child ruler at the turn of the 20th century. Empress Dowager Cixi also…

6. Palace of Accumulated Purity

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One of the Forbidden City's six eastern palaces, this is notable for being the former residence of the young Xianfeng Emperor, who lived here with his mum.

7. Palace of Celestial Favour

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One of the six eastern palaces, this dates from 1420, and was used as a residence of imperial concubines. Today it houses a museum displaying a range of…

8. Gate of Divine Prowess

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The Forbidden City’s north gate, for exit-only. From here you can cross the road into Jingshan Park. During imperial times, the gate was used by servants…