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Forbidden City - Hall of Preserving Harmony

This hall was the last hall of the Outer Court, similar in style but a bit smaller than the Hall of Supreme Harmony. It was first built in 1420, rebuilt in 1625 and renovated in 1765.

Hall of Preserving HarmonyIn 1789, the hall became the site of the "Palace Examinations", the highest level of the nationwide imperial examination system. There were four levels of examinations, namely: the county level, the provincial level, the national level and the Palace Examinations. Those who survived the palace exam would get the title of "doctor" (Jin Shi), and their status and wealth were assured.

This examination system started in the Han Dynasty and suspended every now and then and was finally abolished in 1904. In 1898, the Capital University (Beijing University) was established, and about the same time, China sent students to study in foreign countries like Japan and France. In 1911, Qing Hua University, a well known university both at home and abroad was also established. Thus, the modern Chinese education began.

The original throne sits in the middle, surrounded by some fine bronzes. This hall was the most decorative of all the halls, and the great imperial banquets were held here.