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The Forbidden City

“The Forbidden City” is one of the foremost representations of the novelty and innovation of Chinese culture. Not only this, but it is also significant for its importance to human history and world culture. The Forbidden City, above all known because of its sheer massiveness, is also representative of human art and genius at its finest. The City therefore stands as a testimony to the capabilities of the human race.

The Forbidden City was constructed as a Chinese imperial palace. It was built at the time of the Ming Dynasty, which existed for approximately three hundred years, dated from the middle of the 14th century A.D. to the middle of the 17th century A.D. Part of what makes the structure so impressive is that it contains 980 buildings and covers approximately 7,800,000 square feet. Before going into the specifics of the Forbidden City itself, it can be said that the dimensions of the City reflect themselves ambitiousness and a creative inspiration that signifies something that transcends particular time periods. That the site is now recognized by organizations such as UNESCO as a “World Heritage Site” clearly indicates its relevance to human culture in general.

The massive scale of the project shows not only the impressiveness of engineering skills involved in designing the Forbidden City, but also the effort of the workers who directly led to its realization. In this sense, perhaps we can single out three crucial aspects to the existence of the Forbidden City itself. Firs, there is the vision of the Ming Dynasty at this time, in particular Zhu Di, who when he became the Yongle Emperor. It was Zhu Di who ordered the construction of this large project to cement the reputation of the Ming Dynasty. All grand historical objects require ambition, and he had a vision to construct a time period through complex architecture that would last beyond his own life.

To actually make such a project a reality required an effort of genius from the engineers and architects who contributed to the design of the Forbidden City. While these names have been lost, it is still clear that the City was successful in realizing something significant. Otherwise, it would not be remembered to the present day. Logically there is originality and timelessness which was created by the designers of the Forbidden City.

Thirdly, we must talk about the massive effort to realize this project. As mentioned above over a million works contributed to the creation of what we now know as the Forbidden City. This means, on the one hand, that a massive organization of working power and available workers was employed to make this structure a reality. Therefore, every Chinese has to be proud of the fact that their ancestors contributed to making something that is timeless. At the same time, this also shows how advanced the organizational skills were of the Ming Dynasty, since they were able to organize so many workers in order to realize this dream.

The Forbidden City is a dream that was truly made a reality. Viewing the amazing precision with which it was constructed made me feel proud of my ancestors. It made me feel proud that so long ago they were able to undertake such a monumental project.

There is also a sort of sadness to reflect upon such a time. So much labor was placed into undergoing such a large task, and these workers were not exactly unionized and well paid. Slave labor was very often employed, and looking and walking upon the site where countless individuals worked themselves literally to death was sobering.

In this way, The Forbidden City is a paradox the same way the Giza Pyramids are. They are both amazing feats of architecture, but the way they were constructed was immoral. Overall I feel both proud of my ancestors for building it, but a little ashamed at the way it was built.