During China's Lantern Festival in two days, the Palace Museum will allow late-night visits for the first time, according to the museum's website.
The main locations open to the public will be the Meridian Gate exhibition hall, the Gate of Supreme Harmony, the East Wall, the Gate of Divine Might and other areas of the Palace Museum.
The Palace Museum announced on its official website on Sunday that the "Lantern Festival night in the Forbidden City" will be held for two consecutive nights on February 19 and 20.
Because the ancient buildings in Beijing are mainly made of wood, in recent years, according to the Beijing Daily, there have been no Lantern Festival events held in the cultural protection departments. This year, the Palace Museum will break with "tradition."
The event is the first time in the Palace Museum's 94-year history that it will be open to the public for free at night, and the first time that the ancient buildings in the Forbidden City will be lit on a large scale at night.
According to the announcement, visitors can enjoy the magnificent view of the lit-up Meridian Gate before going through. Then, they can go up to the Meridian Gate tower and visit the exhibition of "Celebrating the Spring Festival in the Forbidden City."
Later, in the Gate of Divine Might area, visitors can see paintings such as "A Thousand Li of Rivers and Mountains" projected on the roof of the building.
As the Beijing Daily said, the idea of allowing night visits has been around for a long time. Curator Shan Jixiang has noted that two cultural streets will be constructed outside the Gate of Divine Might of the Palace Museum, with fine cultural creative products, and the Gate of Divine Might area will be open to visitors at night.
But the Palace Museum cultural street has not yet been completed, and the night visit plan has been delayed as well.
In recent years, the Palace Museum has been one of the most "fashionable" ancient cultural relics sites in Beijing and even the whole country. From 2012 to 2018, the area open to the public within the Forbidden City increased from 30 percent to 80 percent, with more and more courtyards, exhibitions and cultural relics "meeting" the public.
And the "night fair" in the Lantern Festival is also a creative attempt by the museum. The Palace Museum hopes to display the profound connotation of excellent traditional culture at multiple levels through exhibitions and other ways, to display and interpret traditional culture in a way that is popular with people, and to interact with the audience.
Since its launch on January 8, the exhibition, "Celebrating the Spring Festival in the Forbidden City," has further aroused public interest. The number of visitors to the Palace Museum has increased by more than 70 percent year on year, Beijing Daily said.