The Forbidden City


1406 AD

1406 - 1420

Planning to move the capital city from Nanjing to Beijing, Ming Emperor Yongle ordered the building of a royal palace in Beijing

1420 AD

1420 - 1421

The construction work of the royal palace was finished.

1421 AD

1421 - 1440

The three main halls in the outer court were burned down in a fire.

1440 AD

1440 - 1459

The three main halls in the outer court and the Palace of Heavenly Purity were rebuilt

1459 AD

1459 - 1557

The palaces in the west wing were built.

1557 AD

1557 - 1561

A big fire burnt down the three main halls in the outer court, the Meridian Gate, and many other buildings in the palace

1561 AD

1561 - 1597

The restoration work was finished.

1597 AD

1597 - 1627

The three main halls in the outer court and the three main halls in the inner court were burnt down in a big fire

1627 AD

1627 - 1644

The restoration work was finished.

1644 AD

1644 - 1658

Li Zicheng, the leader of a peasant uprising, overthrew the Ming Dynasty and burned most of the palace architecture before retreating. In the same year, Emperor Shunzhi of the successive Qing Dynasty moved the capital city form Shenyang to Beijing and begun his rule of the country in the Forbidden City

1658 AD

1658 - 1695

Most of the palace were rebuilt


1735 - 1813

Emperor Qianlong ascended the throne. In next 60 years during his reign, the palace was enlarged and reconstructed on a large scale. The Forbidden City was attacked during a peasant uprising led by Lin Qing

1911 AD

1911 - 1923

The Qing Dynasty ended. But its last emperor Puyi was still allowed to dwell in the inner court of the imperial palace.

1923 AD

1923 - 1925

The Palace of Establishing Happiness was damaged by a fire. The imperial palace was transformed into the Palace Museum and opened veil to common people.

1948 AD

1948 - 1961

The Palace Museum was reopened to the public after the war.

1987 AD

1987 - 2002

A large-scale restoration of the museum started. It will last 19 years.