The Ming Palace, also known as the Forbidden City of Nanjing (Chinese: 明故宫; pinyin: Míng Gùgōng), was the 14th-century imperial palace of the early Ming dynasty, when Nanjing was the capital of China.
Zhu Yuanzhang, who became the founder and first Emperor of the Ming dynasty, began building a palace in 1367. With its completion, Zhu proclaimed the Ming Dynasty; with himself as the first emperor (known as Hongwu Emperor).
In 1398 the Emperor died, and was succeeded by his grandson, the Jianwen Emperor. A civil war soon ensued as Zhu Di, son of the Hongwu Emperor and uncle of the Jianwen Emperor, sought to take the crown from his nephew. In 1402, Zhu Di took Nanjing and ascended the throne as the Yongle Emperor. The Jianwen Emperor disappeared amid a fire at the imperial Ming Palace.
The Yongle Emperor was keen to return to Beiping (now Beijing). The Nanjing palace lost its position as the emperor’s main residence to Beijing’s Forbidden City in 1420 when the Yongle Emperor officially relocated the imperial capital to Beijing.
After the fall of Beijing to Li Zicheng’s rebels (and, soon thereafter, to the Qing dynasty) in 1644, the Nanjing Ming Palace briefly became the seat of the Prince of Fu, who was crowned the “Hongguang Emperor” in Nanjing in an attempt to continue the Ming dynasty (one of a series of short-lived regimes known collectively as the Southern Ming dynasty). By this time only a small portion of the palace was intact, and the Hongguang Emperor set about rebuilding some sections of the palace.
Throughout the Qing dynasty, the Ming palace was gradually demolished, with stone and carvings taken away to be used as building material and decorative elements on other projects.
No building within the palace survives today. Among other structures, the gate platforms of the Meridian Gate (the southern, front gate of the palace), Donghua Gate (the Gate of Eastern Glory, the eastern gate of the palace), and the Xi’an Gate (the Gate of Western Peace, the western outer gate of the palace) survive. The inner and outer bridges of the Golden Water, which lie on the main north-south axis just inside and just outside the front gate respectively, survive. A number of isolated column elements and stone carvings also survive, and a number of foundations have been excavated. The site of the three halls of the Outer Court has been established as a commemorative park, while the area around the Meridian Gate is also a park. Many of the remaining stone carvings and architectural components of the palace have been moved to the latter park and are arranged for display. Large parts of the former palace are now occupied by various agencies and organisations such as the Aeronautical and Aerospace University of Nanjing or the Archives of the Nanjing Military District.
How to get to Nanjing from Shanghai?
Còng shànghǎi dào nánjīng zěnme zǒu?
How long do I need to study Chinese to survive in China?
Yào zài zhōngguò wéichí Shēnghuò, wǒ xūyào xuéxí duōjiǔ zhōngwén?
I love travelling in China but I can’t speak Chinese. This makes my travels more difficult.
Wǒ xǐhuān zài zhōngguò lǚxíng, dànshì wǒ búhuì shuō zhōngwén, zhè ràng wǒ de lǚxíng biànde hěn kùnnán
Learning Chinese helps you to understand the Chinese culture.
Xuéxí zhōngwén bāngzhù nǐ liǎojiě zhōngguò de wénhuà
Do you speak Mandarin?
Nǐ huìshuō zhōngwén ma?
How does one travel in China when he or she doesn’t speak Mandarin?
Rúguǒ nǐ búhuì shuō hànyǔ, yīnggāi zěnme zài zhōngguò lǚxíng?
Is learning Mandarin hard?
Xuéxí hànyǔ nán ma?
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