After six centuries, the Forbidden City in the heart of China’s capital still stands proud and strong, but what does it stand for? Back in 1981, American writer David Kidd visited Beijing after three decades but was instead welcomed by an unfamiliar scenery. Temples and city walls were replaced with factories and schools, respectively, yet amidst the changes, the imperial palace complex remains.

From the outside, the surroundings’ changes are visible but once you’re inside the palace complex, they remain the same as they were years ago. This is what the Forbidden City is capable of: fooling the eyes of visitors to think that nothing changed from within the palace walls. Kidd described this as an illusion “of supernatural space and time” in his book “Peking Story”.

The palace complex is immense and is the largest in the world, covering 720,000 square meters of land. It’s separated from the capital city with a 52-meter wide moat and a 10-meter high wall, giving off an intimidating ambience. The manor itself was structured to be this way to protect the emperor and impose his power over his people.

The intricate and symbolic designs of the palace complex’s interior don’t disappoint, either. The golden yellow tiles signify the emperor’s link to the sun, and the dragon symbolizes the power entrusted to him. The palace buildings made of wood were installed with lightning conductors to protect them from strikes; however, regular fires and natural disasters still affected the structure for six centuries.

Having endured 600 whole years of natural disasters and political conflict, the Forbidden City is appointed as China’s symbol of its rich history and culture. The government has heavily invested in both its restoration and preservation for the years to come. Will you list the Forbidden City of illusions as one of your tourist destinations in the future?