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BBC Documentaries: Season 2008

2008x56 Secrets of the Forbidden City

  • 2008-05-10T15:00:00-05:00 on BBC
  • 60 mins
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • Documentary, Special Interest

Documentary detailing the creation of Ming Emperor Yongle's palace, the Forbidden City. Forged from hundreds of thousands of timbers felled in the remote corners of his empire, and massive stones dragged across ice from the frozen north, Yongle marshalled a million workers to his vision. At 180 acres and with 9000 rooms, it remains the greatest palace on Earth. For five centuries, what went on behind its blood red walls was forbidden to all but the intimate court of the Emperor. Now, the long neglected chronicles of the Ming Dynasty, many specially translated into English for the first time, will tell how the despotic emperor clawed his way to the top, betrayed his own family and killed all in his path to steal the throne. And how he constructed a gilded palace that was also a prison; stocked with concubines, policed by eunuchs and rife with greed and treachery.