How big is the Palace Museum? It is said that it contains 9,999.5 rooms. During an interview yesterday with the People's Daily, Shan Jixiang, director of the Palace Museum, said that the correct number is actually 9,371. Shan also shared his blueprint for the future of the Forbidden City.
The Palace Museum
Currently, the Hall of Mental Cultivation, the residence of eight emperors from the Qing Dynasty, is still under renovation. The project is expected to be completed in 2020. Shan explained that the reason why the project has taken so long is that "in the past, we only opened 30 percent of the hall to the public. Visitors could only catch a glimpse of the building through windows. But [after 2020] we will open three doors so visitors can enter the building and take a closer look."
Shan added that visitors will also be able to tour the imperial kitchen, where staff members will recreate the scene of cooking for emperors.
The director also replied to questions asked by netizens on social media. Some wondered whether the admission price of the museum will rise in the future. Shan replied: "The present ticket price is not expensive. The peak season ticket is 60 RMB, while in off-peak times it is 40. But we won't raise the price. Actually, if the government approved and the public understood, we would consider opening the museum for free."
Shan Jixiang in the interview with People's Daily
On the subject of capping visitor numbers, Shan said: "Last year, the number of visitors hit a record high, totaling 16 million, 2 million more than the Louvre and the British Museum combined. That is why we put a cap on the number of visitors--80,000 per day. It is working well and we will continue this practice. We suggest that visitors book tickets online ahead of time so they can get in easily by just scanning their ID cards."