This is a film in two parts made by CCT (China Central Television) and distributed by NatGeo to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the building of the Forbidden City in Beijing which housed the Emperor of China for the next 500 years, and is one of the largest palace complexes in the world.
The first part looks at the history of how the city of Beijing was built up and renovated with a new palace complex by Emperor Zhu Di in the 15th century when China was the richest country in the world.
The magnificent palace itself reflected that status, and was built after pulling down the smaller palace of Genghis Khan from an earlier period. It took around 14 years to build and employed tens of thousands of people in its construction, and included some amazing architectural feats, such as the solid tree pillars, and a solid single piece stone ramp 54ft long.
The film explains the history of the founding of Beijing as the new capital, the building of the palace and the new city and the various fortunes that it has gone through in the past 600 years.
We also see some records of the last of the emperors, Puyi, and the power behind the throne, Empress Dowager Cixi. We learn something of the life of the Emperors and their daily work, and find out about the symbolism of the decoration, and the wonderful art works that were commissioned.
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