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Secrets of the Forbidden City

Secrets of the Forbidden City

With unique access to the Forbidden City, this documentary reveals the spectacular history of the world's largest palace, and the secrets of its astonishing design.

It’s the greatest wonder of the medieval world. China’s Forbidden City is an unrivalled palace - it stands at the very heart of Chinese history, home to the emperors for almost 500 years. But the Forbidden City was full of secrets... This film goes behind closed doors to explore this extraordinary palace-city, discovering the clues to its creation. With unique access to the latest conservation works we investigate the evidence hidden in locked halls and high in the mighty roofs – revealing a ruler who ruled with fear but also created an exquisite and enormous work of art and technology. We test the paints, revealing trade with Europe, reapply intricate gold leaf and experiment with an ice road to move an entire marble stairway. And in a huge modern day experiment we test the Forbidden City to destruction, building a giant scale model and placing it on a seismic shake table – replicating the earthquakes that shook Beijing in order to explore the design secrets that made it proof against the greatest shocks on earth.

  • Channel 4
  • NOVA
  • ARTE
  • CICC
TX Date:

July 2017

  • Director/s: Ian Bremner
  • Producer/s: Kristine Allington, Michael H. Amundson
  • Exec Producer/s: Bill Locke