Explore a different destination UNESCO World Heritage Site Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang, China


Forbidden City, Beijing
Forbidden City, Beijing
Author: giladr (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)





The Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties are some of the grandest medieval structures in China. It comprises the Forbidden City in Beijing, which is the Imperial Palace of the Ming Dynasty, a huge complex with nearly 10,000 rooms, and the Imperial Palace of the Qing Dynasty in Shenyang, which comprises 114 buildings, and functioned as an auxiliary to the Imperial Palace of Beijing. They properties cover an area of 12.96 hectates surrounded by a 153.1 hectare buffer zone.

The Imperial Palace of the Ming and Qing Dynasties were inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites during the 11th session of the World Heritage Committee, which convened at UNESCO Headquarter in Paris, France, on 7-11 December, 1987. Originally covering the Forbidden City in Beijing, the inscription was extended in 2004 to cover the Imperial Palace in Shenyang. With the extension, the name of the inscribed property became Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang.

Photos of Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang

President Obama at the Forbidden City, China
President Obama at the Forbidden City, China
Author: White House staff (public domain)

Forbidden City, Beijing
Forbidden City, Beijing
Author: Royd Andalis (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

Forbidden City, Beijing
Forbidden City, Beijing
Author: Boris van Hoytema (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

Water Clock at the Clock Museum, Forbidden City, Beijing
Water Clock at the Clock Museum, Forbidden City, Beijing
Author: Jakub Hałun (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)

World Heritage Site Inscription Details

Location: N 39 54 58.8 E 116 23 27.2
Inscription Year: 1987, Extension: 2004
Type of Site: Cultural
Inscription Criteria: I, II, III, IV

Location Map


View Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in a larger map

Visiting Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang

Visiting the Forbidden Palace can be done on your own, as it is right in the centre of Beijing.

Shenyang is close to 700 kilometers from Beijing, and a regular train will take 8 hours. You may have to fly there from Beijing.

Local Tours of the Forbidden City

You can join any of these tours to view the Forbidden City:
  1. Full Day Tour including the Great Wall, Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square
  2. Full Day Tour of the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven
  3. Beijing Historical Tour of the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Temple of Heaven



Local Tours of China

At times, it is faster, safer and cheaper to join a local tour than to go there yourself. This is especially true for many places in China. However, you need to be wary of the tour operators, especially those in China.

Here are a few local tours of China that you may wish to add to your itinerary. These tours are arranged by Viator, one of the most reputable tour agencies in the market.

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