The Forbidden City can be divided into the Outer Court and inner Court. The Outer Court consists mainly of the Hall of Supreme Harmony the Hall of Middle Harmony and the Hall of Preserving Harmony. The Hall of Supreme Harmony was where the emperor held grand ceremonies.
Th inner Court is composed of the Palace of Heavenly Purity the Hall of Union and Peace and the Palace of Earthly Tranquility with three palaces on either side. Here the emperor used to handle daily state affairs and the empress and concubines used to live. In the Ming Dynasty the height of its decadent history about 10 000 concubines lived here together with the 70 000 eunuchs who were there to cater for the ladies" (almost) every whim.
Much of the Forbidden City later fell into disrepair but the restoration work has been superb. The complex once again is the actual and spiritual heart of Beijing and it is certainly worth more than one viewing. On your first visit you can hire one of the informative taped audio guides available at the entrance (the voice on the English tape belongs to ex-James Bond Roger Moore). The tape provides ample historical background. After the tutored walk-through you can retrace your steps without the audio guide so you can take in the magnificence of the buildings.
Amble through the seemingly endless courtyards and halls and occasionally close your eyes and dream - this place is so atmospheric you can almost smell the history.