This film is part of Free

Forbidden City

Take a tour around the gates of Beijing’s sprawling Forbidden City during its transition from Imperial home to World Heritage Site.

Amateur film 1933 4 mins Silent


This captivating amateur footage reveals Beijing’s Forbidden City at a time of transition. Entry became far less exclusive once it ceased to house the Emperors of China. Yet our cameraman seems to venture only fleetingly inside the main gates. Even so, it's fascinating to see the outer gateways as relaxed, social places, without the teeming tourist groups that throng there today.

By 1933, the Forbidden City was home to the Palace Museum, an exhibition of Chinese national treasures.