Home > Destination > Beijing > Attractions > Forbidden City > Palace of Tranquil Longevity
Beijing Bus Search

Search buses/subway lines between two stops.

Search a bus/subway line.

Palace of Tranquil Longevity (Ningshougong) Area

Ask Question

Clothing of the Manchu People, Palace of Tranquil Longevity
Clothing of the Manchu People, Palace
of Tranquil Longevity

At the north-eastern corner of the Forbidden City, there is a large building complex, the Palace of Tranquil Longevity (Ningshougong) Area. The layout of the complex appears exactly like a miniature imperial palace. It forms a rectangular courtyard, mainly made up of two parts, namely, the southern front court and the northern rear living areas.

The building complex includes Nine-dragon Screen, Hall of Imperial Supremacy (Huangjidian), Palace of Tranquil Longevity (Ningshougong), Hall of Spiritual Cultivation (Yangxingdian), Qianlong Garden, Belvedere of Pleasant Sounds (Changyinge), Hall for Viewing Opera (Yueshilou), Hall of Joyful Longevity (Leshoutang), Bower of Well-nourished Harmony (Yihexuan) and Well of Concubine Zhen (Zhenfeijing). The palace complex was prepared by Emperor Qianlong for his use after the abdication.

The Nine-Dragon Screen in the palace is the most exquisite of the three large ancient Nine-Dragon Screens existing in China. The other two are located in Datong City and Beihai Park of Beijing.

The Hall of Imperial Supremacy (Huangjidian) is the main hall of the Palace of Tranquil Longevity Area. It was a golden palace constructed by Emperor Qianlong for his personal use. Now it is an exhibition gallery, divided into three exhibition rooms. Treasure Room No. 1 exhibits 23 daily utensils of the emperors and their empresses. Treasure Room No. 2 displays 26 entertainment objects of the royal family. Treasure Room No. 3 shows 46 decoration articles of the emperors and empresses.

The Palace of Tranquil Longevity (Ningshougong) was built in the style of the Kunninggong (Palace of Earthly Tranquility) on the central axis of the Forbidden City. It was where the Shaman deities were enshrined.

The Hall of Spiritual Cultivation (Yangxingdian) was built as the living quarters of Emperor Qianlong. Now it has been converted into Treasure Room No. 4, in which are displayed 11 ritual articles of the royal family.

The Qianlong Garden was actually the garden of the Palace of Tranquil Longevity Area. It was so called because it was built in the Qianlong Period. Emperor Qianlong intended to make it his personal garden after abdication. Inside the garden there were built pavilions, platforms and towers, interspersed with green pines, verdant cypresses, rockeries of exquisite stones and winding paths.

The Belvedere of Pleasant Sounds (Changyinge) contains the largest stage in the Forbidden City. It is 20.71 meters (67.9 feet) high and divided into three levels – an upper, middle and lower.

The Hall for Viewing Opera (Yueshilou), standing opposite the Belvedere of Pleasant Sounds, is the place where the emperors, empresses, concubines, princes, princesses, dukes and ministers to enjoyed operas being held in Changyinge. Now the first floor is used as an opera display house, in which are exhibited the costumes, props, and paintings of the operas performed in the palaces during the Qing Dynasty. There are also a selection of elaborately restored videos of performances of the renowned palace actors and actresses.

Hall of Joyful Longevity (Leshoutang) was prepared by Emperor Qianlong to be used as his study and restroom after retiring from power. However, he never used it. It is now Treasure Room No. 5, holding 26 pieces of imperial furnishings.

Bower of Well-nourished Harmony (Yihexuan) is a spacious hall. On its east and west walls are calligraphy works all by Emperor Qianlong. They are mostly about quelling rebellions and safeguarding national unity. Qianlong planned to enjoy his later life here. Now it is Treasure Room No. 6, displaying 14 Buddhist objects used by the royal family.

The Well of Concubine Zhen (Zhenfeijing) was an ordinary well in Qianlong Garden. There is a well-known story about it - it is said that Concubine Zhen, a favorite of Emperor Guangxu was pushed into the well by Empress Dowager Cixi and drowned. Later her body was recovered, and after burial, her title was upgraded to 'Worthy Lady Zhen'. Thus the well got its name. It hasn’t been used so far. The mouth was covered with a rock, the two sides were drilled with two holes and an iron bar used to seal the well.

Generally speaking, the Palace of Tranquil Longevity Area is the last stop for a conventional tour of the Forbidden City. However, it shouldn't be missed, since it is a galaxy of the excellent palace architecture during the reign of Emperor Qianlong. He intended to gather all of his life-time favorite palace architecture in a limited area. Now the Ningshougong Area has been developed into a special gallery for exhibiting the treasures of the Forbidden City. 

 Story of the Construction of the Palace of Tranquil Longevity
Emperor Qianlong respected his grandfather Emperor Kangxi very much. Kangxi came to the throne at the age of 8 and died of illness at 69, reigning 61 years. Before him, there was no emperor who had reigned for such as long time. Out of reverence for Kangxi, Qianlong, on ascending to the throne, announced to his ministers that under no circumstances would he exceed his grandpa’s reign. Once serving 60 years, he would abdicate. When he was 60 years old, he built the palace, based on the original Palace of Tranquil Longevity, for use in his later life after abdication.

Qianlong was enthroned at 25 years old. He would need to live to 85 if his reign was to last 60 years. There was no emperor from the former dynasties that lived so long. So people took Qianlong’s pledge as an expression of grateful affection for his grandpa. However, Qianlong kept practicing martial art to build up his body, and he paid attention to maintaining good habits in order to keep good health. As a result, even when he was over 80, he was able to hunt on prairies beyond the Great Wall. Thus he did sit on the throne for 60 years. After which, to keep his promise, he passed the throne to his son Jiaqing, and he himself became the overlord. But in fact the real power was still grasped in his hands, so he didn't ever lived in the Palace of Tranquil Longevity.

 Go to the Next Attractions: Belvedere of Pleasant Sounds, Hall for Viewing Opera & Qianlong Garden 

Ask a Question about Palace of Tranquil Longevity (Ningshougong) Area
Back Go Top