(NOTE: If the Google map above is not appearing, you can see the Forbidden City map here.)
There is one nice surprise by using Google’s aerial map to view the Forbidden City. You can see how thinking that dates back centuries affected a world-famous structure for China’s emperors and their dynasties.
Literally. Just zoom up close.
Look for the middle or “meridian” line that runs south to north in the historic seat of dynastic power in Beijing.
The Forbidden City was home to two dozen emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties. It has nearly 10,000 rooms. It was so important in China that it was named after the “center of the heavens.”
With astrology playing a strong role in parts of Chinese history, many perceived it to reflect the “heavenly earth,” as Xuefeng Liao writes in a paper posted on Middlebury College’s Web site.
And this middle or “meridian” line was so crucial for Chinese astrology and thinking that it “served as the benchmark, indicating power and royalty,” Liao says.