Forbidden City to Get More Forbidden

Beijing attraction to limit tourists for fear of damage

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 27, 2014 9:19 AM CDT

(Newser) – A week after Michelle Obama toured Beijing's Forbidden City, China has announced the former imperial palace won't open its doors to quite so many tourists, amid fears that the traffic is damaging the site, Reuters reports. How those numbers currently stack up: more than 14 million tourists each year, with 122,000 people flooding it on a single day in 2010, though its daily capacity is estimated at closer to 60,000.

And so, annual ticket holders will now be barred from visiting the palace—already closed one day a week for renovations—during peak periods, Xinhua notes. Parts of the 183-acre site, said to have 9,999 rooms, have also stopped selling concessions. Reuters points out that visitor damage is a more modern issue: Commoners and foreigners were forbidden entry, upon threat of death, for the lion's share of its history.

Cleaners walk past an area shielded by green nets in front of Tiananmen Gate following a car fire in Beijing, China, Monday, Oct. 28, 2013.
Cleaners walk past an area shielded by green nets in front of Tiananmen Gate following a car fire in Beijing, China, Monday, Oct. 28, 2013.   (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)
A tourist holds up a Chinese flag in front of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong's portrait on Tiananmen Gate,  at Beijing's Forbidden City.
A tourist holds up a Chinese flag in front of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong's portrait on Tiananmen Gate, at Beijing's Forbidden City.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
In this Jan. 13, 2013 file photo, visitors gather near an entrance to the Forbidden city during a very hazy day in Beijing. China.
In this Jan. 13, 2013 file photo, visitors gather near an entrance to the Forbidden city during a very hazy day in Beijing. China.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)
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