US President Barack Obama took a break from bilateral discussions in the afternoon and played tourist at the Forbidden City on November 17th, the second day of his first visit to China.
The Forbidden City, one of the most visited and best-loved historical sites in China, greets Obama with a high-level reception and an uninterrupted tour. The City officials had scheduled one-day close-off for the presidential visit in advance.
Accompanied by the Museum Curator Zheng Xinmiao, Obama began his tour with the Meridian Gate (Wu Men), the south entrance to the City. He walked along the museum's central axis, also the axial line of Beijing, from south to north, about 960 meters.
Standing in the Hall of Supreme Harmony, "Very good! Spectacular!" Obama exclaimed, and even posed for photos on the square in front of the hall. He also asked Zheng for an explanation of the Chinese characters on the board hanging in the middle of the hall. After getting the answer of "Emperors should make good rules", the president smiled, nodding.
The 45-minute tour soon came to an end. Obama concluded that it was "a magnificent place to visit" and he expected a revisit with his wife and daughters sometime later, adding that he was very interested in visiting other parts of the country.
"Thank you for the wonderful tour of the Forbidden City. It is truly majestic, and a testimony to the greatness and longevity of Chinese civilization." Obama wrote in the VIP visitor's book before leaving.
The visiting president would also tour the Great Wall, one of Seven Wonders of the World, in the next day.
(Plan a Beijing Tour to explore the Forbidden City as President Obama did.)