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The Forbidden City wonder is based on the real life Forbidden City, which is a palace complex in central Beijing, China. The former Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty - the years 1420 to 1912, it now houses the Palace Museum. The Forbidden City served as the home of emperors and their households, as well as the ceremonial and political center of the Chinese government for almost 500 years.

Constructed from 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 buildings and covers over 180 acres. The common English name "Forbidden City", and sometimes "Forbidden Palace" is a translation of the Chinese name Zijin Cheng, which means "Purple Forbidden City". The word "Forbidden" in its name referred to the fact that commoners were not allowed to enter or leave the palace without the emperor's permission.