Myths surrounding the Forbidden City

myths surrounding the forbidden city

Built in the early 15th century, the forbidden city served as the political and ceremonial center of China for more than 500 years, housing 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Over time, it has become the subject of many myths and legends, some of which we will explore in this article.

The Forbidden City is Haunted

One of the most popular myths surrounding the Forbidden City is that it is haunted by ghosts. It is said that the spirits of concubines, eunuchs, and other palace staff who died within its walls still linger, haunting the palace to this day. Some visitors claim to have seen ghostly apparitions or heard strange noises while exploring the palace. Despite numerous reports of paranormal activity, there is no concrete evidence to support this myth.

The Forbidden City Was Built with Human Blood

Another widespread myth about the Forbidden City is that it was built using the blood of the workers who built it. According to this myth, the workers were treated so poorly and worked so hard that they died in droves. The blood of these workers was then mixed with the bricks and mortar used to construct the palace. While it is true that building the palace was a monumental undertaking that required a large workforce, there is no evidence to suggest that their blood was used in the construction.

The Forbidden City Has a Secret Tunnel

There is a popular myth that a secret tunnel runs from the Forbidden City to the Temple of Heaven, which the emperors used to escape in case of emergency. This myth is often repeated in tourist guidebooks and is a popular topic of conversation among visitors to the palace. Despite the persistent rumors, no evidence of such a tunnel has ever been found.

The Forbidden City Has a Curse

Legend has it that anyone who steals an object from the Forbidden City will be cursed with bad luck for the rest of their lives. This myth has been perpetuated by stories of people who have supposedly stolen items from the palace and later experienced misfortune or tragedy. Some people believe that the curse extends to anyone who takes a photo of an object in the palace without permission. While there is no evidence to support the existence of a curse, the palace takes the protection of its artifacts seriously and has strict rules against photography and theft.

The Forbidden City Has Hidden Treasure

The final myth we will explore is the idea that the Forbidden City is home to hidden treasure. According to this myth, the emperors who lived in the palace left behind vast amounts of treasure that are still waiting to be discovered. Some people believe that the treasure is guarded by powerful spirits or demons, and that only those with pure hearts and intentions can find it. Despite numerous treasure hunters searching for the palace’s hidden wealth over the years, no treasure has ever been found.


Overall, the Forbidden City is a fascinating place steeped in history and culture. Its rich legacy has inspired countless myths and legends over the years, many of which continue to capture the imagination of visitors and locals alike. While some of these stories may be based on fact, many are simply urban legends that have been passed down through the generations. Regardless of their origins, these myths and legends add an extra layer of mystery and intrigue to an already captivating destination.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x