On May 11, 2013, in the course of exploring the sights of Beijing, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia visited the former Imperial Palace, referred to in Chinese as Gùgōng.
The tour was attended by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokalamsk, Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate; Bishop Sergiy of Solnechnogorsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate's Administrative Secretariat; V.R. Legoyda, head of the Synodal Information Department; Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, deputy chairman of the DECR, members of the delegation accompanying the Leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as by A.I. Denisov, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Russia in the People's Republic of China.
When entering the Forbidden City, the Patriarch said: "Probably every Chinese person wants to be here." Agreeing with this, the tour guide spoke to His Holiness and his entourage about this historic building.
Gùgōng (Chinese for "Former Imperial Palace") - the general name for the imperial palaces of the deposed Chinese dynasties. The term is used mainly in relation to the Forbidden City of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing.
The Forbidden City is located in the central part of Beijing. It is the largest palace complex in the world, the main palace complex of Chinese emperors from the XV to the early XX century. 24 emperors of the 24 Ming and Qing dynasties ruled from this palace. It got its name because of limited access to the premises at the time of the empire (in the XIX century, foreigners had almost never been there). Its total area totals 720,000 square meters.
In the palace complex - 8,707 rooms. It is surrounded by a wall and a moat 3,400 meters long. A million construction workers and 100,000 stone carvers and artists took part in constructing the palace.