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Museum to open more areas to visitors
By Li Qian

TOURISTS will be able to visit the areas where former empresses and imperial concubines lived in the Forbidden City after repair works of historical relics are completed.

The western part of the Forbidden City, now known as the Palace Museum, was dubbed the women’s world during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911).

It included many gardens and a Buddhist hall.

Since the museum was established in 1925, the area has never ever been open to the public, said Shan Jixiang, the museum curator.

But tourists will have to wait  till 2020 — the 600th year of the Forbidden City — when about 76 percent of the museum is open to the public.

The museum is now installing security facilities and arranging for exhibitions, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Cining Gong, the Palace of Compassion and Tranquility, which was the residences of several empresses, will be used to display sculptures.

The Shoukang Gong — Palace of Longevity and Good Health — was used by the mother of Emperor Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty. It will be restored to its original look.

In 2012, the Palace Museum became the only museum in the world to be visited by more than 10 million visitors annually, Shan said, adding that the amount of visitors hit a record high of 182,000 visitors for a single day during last year’s  National Day holiday.

The museum received a total of 15.34 million visitors in 2012, ­­a jump of 9 percent from 2011.

It really exhausted staff and security guards at the museum that stretches 320,000 square meters, Shan said.

He said the museum plans to close every Monday to maintain the place better.

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