The Palace Museum has opened the Forbidden City's Qixiang Gate, (Gate of Auspicious Beginning) to the public.
A part of the Qixiang Palace, the Qixiang Gate gives visitors more convenient access to the The Hall of Martial Valor (wuying dian) by connecting the paths between the inner west palaces and the outer west zones of the Forbidden City.
Located in the southwest corner of the Six Western Palaces, the Qixiang Palace was first built in 1420 during the reign of the Ming Dynasty's (1368-1644) Yongle Emperor.
It was originally named as Weiyang Palace until 1535, when the Jiaqing Emperor changed its name to Qixiang Palace to memorialize the birth of his father.
During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the palace was repaired several times and its name was changed to Hall of Supreme Principle (taiji dian).
Before the open of the Qixiang Gate, visitors only had the choice of passing through the three main halls of the Forbidden City - the Hall of Supreme Harmony (taihe dian), the Hall of Central Harmony (zhonghe dian) and the Hall of Preserving Harmony (baohe dian) - to enter the rest of the Palace Museum.
With visitors coming to the museum from all over the world, this inevitably left this passage crowded with people.
According to Palace Museum officials, the opening of the Qixiang Gate has greatly helped relieve visitor congestion by diverting a portion of foot traffic from the main palaces and halls to these western areas.
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