This is the former residence of Puyi, the Qing dynasty’s final emperor, the basis for Bernardo Bertolucci's film The Last Emperor (1987). His study, bedroom, temple, his wife’s quarters and opium den, as well as his concubine’s rooms, have all been elaborately re-created. His American car is also on display, but it’s the exhibition on his extraordinary life, told in part with a fantastic collection of photos, that is most enthralling. An English audio guide costs ¥20. A taxi from the train station costs ¥7.
In 1908, at age two, Puyi became the 10th Qing emperor. His reign lasted just over three years, but he was allowed to remain in the Forbidden City until 1924. He subsequently lived in Tiānjīn until 1932, when the Japanese installed him at this palace as the ‘puppet emperor’ of Manchukuo. After Japan’s defeat in 1945, Puyi was captured by Russian troops. In 1950 he was returned to China, where he spent 10 years in a re-education camp before ending his days as a gardener in Běijīng. Puyi died in 1967.
While you're here, look out for the swimming pool (Puyi never used it as an emperor was never allowed to show his body in public) and the dank underground air-raid shelter where he retreated with his family when the bombs fell.