The Forbidden City
Ninety is a whopping milestone of a birthday, but Beijing’s biggest and best-looking nonagenarian, the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City, is showing no signs of slowing, and neither should she. The UNESCO-listed lovely has captured more hearts than Panjiayuan market has flogged Mao memorabilia, and is currently getting gussied up to the nines as she opens celebrations for becoming one of China’s most visited sites.
Kicking off the festivities is the May completion of the Yanchi House renovation at the Meridian Gate – a 2,800-square-metre exhibition hall that will display cultural relics from China and beyond. As well as this excellent endowment, a previously off-limits portion of the palace will be opened to the public for the first time, upping the accessible area of the complex to a never-before-seen 65%. Curious cats can have a gander at the residence of the royal ladies of the Ming and Qing dynasties – we’re talking empresses and concubines – as their former quarters, rather euphemistically christened the Palace of Compassion and Tranquility (hmm), become a sculpture exhibition space. All of this, as well as three other new areas, will be ready in time for the palace’s big day on 10th October, 2015. Happy birthday, indeed!
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