July 29th @ 4PM:  It’s summertime, so dust off your passports, we’re heading to China with Toni McKeen. On our itinerary is the Forbidden City, long closed off to visitors. Next stop is the Great Wall.

The Forbidden City is a palace complex at the center of the Imperial City of Beijing. It is surrounded by opulent imperial gardens and temples.  It was constructed from 1406 to 1420, and was the former Chinese imperial palace and winter residence of the Emperor of China from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty in 1924. The Forbidden City served as the home of Chinese emperors and their households and was the ceremonial and political center of the Chinese government for over 500 years.

The complex consists of 980 buildings, encompassing 8,886 rooms and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.

The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications that were built across the historical northern borders of ancient Chinese states and Imperial China as protection against various nomadic groups from the Eurasian Steppe.

Apart from defense, other purposes of the Great Wall have included border patrols, allowing the imposition of duties on goods transported along the Silk Road, regulation or encouragement of trade, and the control of immigration and emigration. The defensive characteristics of the Great Wall were enhanced by the construction of watchtowers, troop barracks, garrison stations, signaling capabilities through the means of smoke or fire, and the fact that the path of the Great Wall also served as a transportation corridor.

Toni McKeen lectures widely about art history, travel, and genealogy.

This presentation is part of the Library’s Adult Summer Reading Program and is made possible thanks to the Friends of the Ridgefield Library.

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