The Nine Dragon Screen, a 5m-tall, 27m-wide spirit wall, is one of three such screens in China. It's a spectacular composition of coiling dragons picked out in coloured glazed tiles, built in 1773 as part of a wholesale renovation of the northeastern section of the palace to create a retirement pad for Emperor Qianlong. The screen here was inspired by the one in Beihai Park.

Considered a benevolent creature, the dragon in China is the symbol of power, luck and longevity, with the power to dispel drought.

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1. Treasure Gallery

0.07 MILES

In the northeastern corner of the complex is the Treasure Gallery (or Complete Palace of Peace and Longevity, 宁寿全宫, Níng Shǒu Quán Gōng), a…

2. Gallery of Clocks

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The Gallery of Clocks is one of the unmissable highlights of the Forbidden City. Relocated from the Hall for Ancestral Worship in 2018 (in order that the…

3. Hall of Imperial Supremacy

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The main hall of the Palace of Tranquil Longevity (宁寿宫, Níng Shǒu Gōng) built around 1771 for Qing emperor Qianlong's retirement, though he never moved in…

4. Hall for Ancestral Worship

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The hall where emperors worshipped their ancestors (under restoration at time of research). Once held the spirit tablets of deceased Qing emperors.

5. Belvedere of Cheerful Melodies

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This three-storey wooden opera house, built in 1776, was the Forbidden City’s largest theatre. Note the trap doors that allowed actors to make dramatic…

6. Palace of Prolonging Happiness

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The most unique of the Forbidden City's six eastern palaces, the Palace of Prolonging Happiness features an unfinished 20th-century Western-style building…

7. Hall of Spiritual Cultivation

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Built in 1776, the Hall of Spiritual Cultivation was intended to be used for Qing emperor Qianlong's retirement. He never moved in, although he did throw…

8. Hall of Preserving Harmony

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The third of the Great Halls is the Hall of Preserving Harmony, used for banquets and later for imperial examinations. Descending from the rear of the…