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Pics: Take a trip to Beijing’s Forbidden City – before it starts limiting visitors

The incredible Forbidden City was closed off to visitors for hundreds of years.

SOON, CHINA WILL begin limiting how many tourists can visit the Forbidden City in Beijing.

The former Imperial Palace sees about 7 million visitors each year, and officials think that’s just too many people.

Worried about inflicting damage to the important historical site, China’s state media recently announced that it will begin limiting how many tourists it admits to the Forbidden City.

The new limitations will prohibit annual ticket holders from visiting during peak seasons, encourage tourists to visit in the afternoon and to buy tickets in advance during festivals and holidays.

Take a look around the UNESCO World Heritage Site — while you still can.

Originally built in the early 1400s, the Forbidden City served as the imperial palace for Chinese emperors and their families for almost 500 years.

originally-built-in-the-early-1400s-the-forbidden-city-served-as-the-imperial-palace-for-chinese-emperors-and-their-families-for-almost-500-years

It was closed off to visitors for hundreds of years. Only the emperor, his immediate family, officials, and servants could access the complex — hence the name, “Forbidden City.”

it-was-closed-off-to-visitors-for-hundreds-of-years-only-the-emperor-his-immediate-family-officials-and-servants-could-access-the-complex--hence-the-name-forbidden-city

But today it’s one of the most popular tourist sites in China, with about 7 million visitors each year.

but-today-its-one-of-the-most-popular-tourist-sites-in-china-with-about-7-million-visitors-each-year

Inside the gates are hundreds of temples and palaces.inside-the-gates-are-hundreds-of-temples-and-palacesSource: Forbidden via Shutterstock

Beautiful golden-roofed pagodas are guarded by giant stone lions.

beautiful-golden-roofed-pagodas-are-guarded-by-giant-stone-lions

Up close, the historic architecture has some incredibly ornate detailing.

up-close-the-historic-architecture-has-some-incredibly-ornate-detailing

Chinese emperors once found respite in these peaceful gazebos.

chinese-emperors-once-found-respite-in-these-peaceful-gazebos

Guards once stood in these watchtowers to protect the royal Chinese families from intruders.guards-once-stood-in-these-watchtowers-to-protect-the-royal-chinese-families-from-intruders

Today, guards still protect the historic Palace Museum, but now it’s from careless visitors and not invaders.

today-guards-still-protect-the-historic-palace-museum-but-now-its-from-careless-visitors-and-not-invaders

They’re protecting national treasures, like this historic throne room, where Chinese emperors once sat.

theyre-protecting-national-treasures-like-this-historic-throne-room-where-chinese-emperors-once-sat

The Forbidden City gets very crowded with tourists, which is why the government is planning to limit the number of visitors.

the-forbidden-city-gets-very-crowded-with-tourists-which-is-why-the-government-is-planning-to-limit-the-number-of-visitors

Source: deepphoto/Flickr

This ruling is meant to protect this national treasure.this-ruling-is-meant-to-protect-this-national-treasure

All pics: Shutterstock (unless otherwise specified)

Read: Chinese government release ‘civilised behaviour abroad’ handbook for its citizens>

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