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A stroll through the Forbidden City (Pics)



The most majestic palace in the People’s Republic of China is located in the center of its capital, Beijing.

This palace is also known as the ‘Palace Museum’.

However, this place, which is now known as the Palace Museum, was referred to as the ‘Forbidden City’ in the past.

The Forbidden City’s history dates back to more than 600 years.

The palace was built between the period of the Ming Dynasty which was in power from 1368 to 1644 BC and the Qing Dynasty which was in power from 1644 to 1911.

The Forbidden City was the home to 24 emperors of China.

The construction of the palace began by the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Yongle, in 1406 and was completed in 1420.

Fourteen emperors of the Ming Dynasty ruled the empire from the palace until it was taken over by the Manchus in 1644.

Chinese history says the Manchus moved the capital to Shenyang for a few months after they conquered the palace.

The Forbidden City later fell to the hands of the Qing Dynasty and has been home to 10 emperors of the Qing Dynasty ever since.

The city was the seat of the Qing dynasty until the last emperor abdicated in 1912 following the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.

Considered to be the world’s largest imperial palace, it is said to be three times larger than the Louvre Palace in France.

The Forbidden City which is 7,750,000 square feet in size has been completed with the contribution of a million laborers.

It consists of more than 90 palace quarters and courtyards, 980 buildings and over 8,728 rooms.

The architects have designed it in a way that birds are unable to roost on the roofs of the Forbidden City.

The spaces between the tiles on the high roofs have been widened in order to retain the cleanliness and splendor of the city.

It is said that the colors of the Forbidden City are based on Feng Shui, and therefore, yellow and red colors can be seen often.

Buildings of European and Arabian architecture are also located within the premises. 

It was said that part of the old collection at the museum is still in Taiwan as a result of removing some national treasures from the Forbidden City during the Japanese invasion in 1933.

Following the end of World War II, part of the collection was returned from Taiwan, but some of the artefacts are kept in the National Palace Museum in Taipei.

Many people here believe that a visit to the Forbidden City is incomplete without a visit to Jingshan Park.

If you wish to see just how enormous and majestic the Forbidden City is, you must visit the nearby Jingshan Park where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the entire complex from top of a hill.

(Kelum Shivantha reporting from Beijing, China)


Russian Lit. Fest held in Colombo (Pics)




The Russian House in Colombo hosted the much anticipated annual Literature festival yesterday (Nov. 22), amid the excitement of Literary enthusiasts in the island.

Russian Literary greats Rasul Gamzatov, Leo Tolstoy and Ivan Turgenev were  commemorated at the event.

A unique photo exhibition out front showcased the estates where the literary greats had lived and created their iconic pieces – Tolstoy’s Yasnaya Polyana and Turgenev’s Spasskoye-Lutovinovo. Photo archives were provided by the Director of the Russian House in Colombo, Madam Maria Popova, and the writer for the Russky Mir magazine, Irina Ivina.

Max Dimov, Deputy Chief Editor of  “Moscow Media”, addressed the gathering with a video message. 

During his visit to the Russian House in July, he had made friends among the founders of the Russian Literary Club, famous philologists, writers and translators Ranjana Senasinghe and Felix Fernando. 

For the first time ever, the festival program also showcased the works of contemporary Russian authors in Sinhala. 

Felix Fernando presented his translation of an international bestseller book by Evgeny Vodolazkin, ‘the most important living Russian writer’ according to the New Yorker. His novel “Laurus” was dubbed as ‘a new statesman book of the year 2016’. On top of that, Fernando also translated a touching New Year short story “I Won’t Tell!” by an extremely popular Russian author, producer, screenwriter and philanthropist Alexander Tsypkin.

Both authors addressed the audience with a video greeting, deeply touched by the interest in their works and happily responded to the invitation to visit Sri Lanka and personally meet the translator.

(Pics : FB of Russian House in Colombo)

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SL President attends Maldivian President’s inauguration ceremony




The inauguration ceremony of the new President of Maldives – Dr. Mohamed Muizzu was held in Malé, Maldives today (17).
Attending the event, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe congratulated Dr. Muizzu.

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Kamal & Kumara Thirimadura shine at Presidential Cinema Awards




The 20th Presidential Cinema Awards ceremony was held yesterday (November 14), at the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre, Colombo.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe attended as Chief Guest while Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister – Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana were Guests of Honour.

The event, which was not held since 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, handed over 53 awards after reviewing 42 films screened in 2019 and 2020.

The Best Actor awards in 2019 and 2020 went to Kamal Addaraarachchi (Ginnen Upan Seethala) and Kumara Thirimadura (The Newspaper) respectively.

The Best Actress awards in 2019 and 2020 went to Samadhi Laksiri (Dekala Purudu Kenek) and Nita Fernando (Panshu) respectively.

One of the most beloved and iconic musicians in the country Kalasoori Nanda Malini received a special award from the President at the awards ceremony.

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