Forbidden City Facts

  • By Brian Kantor
  • Posted 10.18.17
  • NOVA

Discover how Beijing’s Forbidden City, the largest palace complex in the world, has survived 500 years of earthquakes.

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Running Time: 01:34

Transcript

Forbidden City Facts

Published October 18, 2017

On Screen: The Forbidden City 5 Fantastic Facts

1. It’s the largest complex of palace buildings in the world

Total buildings: more than 800

Construction material: Wood

Total area: 135 football fields

2. Completed in 1420, it was the grand vision of Ming Emperor Yongle

3. Planning the giant city took 10 years

With millions of laborers, building it only took 4 years

4. The Forbidden City is in an earthquake zone

In 500 years it’s been hit by hundreds of earthquakes, some bigger than the quake that destroyed San Francisco in 1906

Number of buildings collapsed: zero

What’s the secret?

5. Brackets

They distribute the heavy weight of the roof into the columns below which rest freely on the ground, allowing them to move laterally

There are no nails, screws, or glue, only precise carpentry of interlocking pieces

No wonder it was the emperors’ primary residence for nearly 500 years

Credits

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Digital Producer
Brian Kantor
SECRETS OF THE FORBIDDEN CITY
Producer and Director
Ian Bremner
Editors
Dominic Hutton
Ian Merrylees
Tom Parker

FOOTAGE AND GRAPHICS

Graphics
Mark Peters
Adam Vrijland

SFX

Music
­APM

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