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

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

Location: China [Peking Municipality]

Year Inscribed: 1987 (extension in 2004)

Criteria for Nomination:

(i): The Imperial Palaces represent masterpieces in the development of imperial palace architecture in China.

(ii): The architecture of the Imperial Palace complexes, particularly in Shenyang, exhibits an important interchange of influences of traditional architecture and Chinese palace architecture particularly in the 17th and 18th centuries.

(iii): The Imperial Palaces bear exceptional testimony to Chinese civilisation at the time of the Ming and Qing dynasties, being true reserves of landscapes, architecture, furnishings and objects of art, as well as carrying exceptional evidence to the living traditions and the customs of Shamanism practiced by the Manchu people for centuries.

(iv): The Imperial Palaces provide outstanding examples of the greatest palatial architectural ensembles in China. They illustrate the grandeur of the imperial institution from the Qing Dynasty to the earlier Ming and Yuan dynasties, as well as Manchu traditions, and present evidence on the evolution of this architecture in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Total Number of Cultural/Mixed Heritage Sites in China: 32

Size of Site: 153 ha (only given estimates)

Time period: 1416-1911; Ming and Qing Dynasties



Also known as “The Forbidden City”, the Imperial Palaces of Ming and Qing Dynasties were under construction for a total of 27 years. The Imperial Palaces of Ming took 13 years to construct and the Qing Palaces took 14 years. They went through over 20 different emperors spanning near 500 years of history. The palaces are in very good condition as they have been rebuilt many times and preserved as a tourist attraction.

The city has gone through many culture changes as it has seen china change from within. The city has gone through a lot in its lifetime – from defending its people against attacks to welcoming new traditions and people. Because the time frame is so large, it has seen a vast variety of cultures. However it has always been ruled by an emperor, meaning there have been social classes involved in its entire history. This may have helped its preservation in the earlier stages as well as the people would support their emperors, trying to keep all their possessions as a “shrine” to them.

The Imperial Palaces is very important to the history of China. It contains a library and shows the foundation of the last dynasty to ever rule China. It also showcases the power and beauty of the country for all to see.



There are no real threats for this site at the current time. It is a highly popular tourist attraction and a central point to the China’s history.


Interesting/Fun Facts:


The structure of the Palaces was built symmetrically and contains 114 buildings. All of the “important” buildings are in the middle down the center – making it built in a hierarchy.






World Heritage Site:

A look at the Imperial Palaces from a different angle:





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