It only took six months, but this past weekend, we finally made it to the Forbidden City in Beijing.

Justin visited the impressive imperial complex back in 2004 during a family visit to China, but we had yet to find the time to visit the Imperial Palace together since moving to China. So despite some annoying sand blowing in from the Gobi Desert this weekend, we headed into Beijing to visit the Forbidden City. Evidently the sand also failed to deter the thousands of other visitors to the palace that day, most of whom were Chinese. 

Eh, a little sand never hurt anybody ...

Eh, a little sand never hurt anybody …

Although I will be posting in greater detail on the Forbidden City in the coming weeks, I thought I would keep you in the loop of our latest adventures in China by at least showing some photos from our day in Beijing.

My favorite feature in the Forbidden City was actually the Nine Dragon Wall. Compared to the rest of this vast, centuries-old complex, the Nine Dragon Wall is a rather new addition. It was constructed in 1773 as part of a retirement villa for Emperor Qianlong, located east of the Outer Court and the Hall of Preserving Harmony.  The Wall (or “screen”) was constructed to provide some privacy for the Emperor, obstructing the view between the Gate of Imperial Supremacy and the Palace of Tranquil Longevity. It is adorned with nine colorful dragons, each different. In Chinese culture, the dragon is a symbol of power and good fortune. They are often associated with prayers for rain or provision, such as rain to end a devastating drought. The dragons on the wall are depicted within waves, alluding to their ability to calm storms or to bring end to periods of devastation.

Here’s a closer look at the nine dragons depicted on the wall:


And finally, here we are in front of the wall. It was absolutely freezing! Don’t we look cute, though? 

Have you visited the Forbidden City in Beijing? What was your favorite part?