Want to visit China’s Forbidden City but have neither the time nor the money to get there?

Not to worry.

Thanks to IBM and the Palace Museum in Beijing,  a 3-dimensional Virtual Forbidden City has been created and it’s only a mouse click away.


Three years in the creation, the virtual Forbidden City appears as it was in during the Qing dynasty (1644 to 1912), making this not only virtual travel but also time travel at it’s best. From the minute you enter the gates of the Forbidden City, you are transported into another time and culture.

Real life visitors don’t have it this good.

Traveling the Forbidden City virtually allows you to dress up in a historic costume and become part of the huge imperial entourage. A truly interactive experience, you can practice archery with the help of a courtesan, feed crickets blood-fattened mosquites and then train them as fighters, and watch the Qing dynasty emperor feast at dinner. You can even interact with other virtual visitors.

Well, got to go. I’m late for my dinner with the Emperor. Who knows, I might even see you there… 

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Liz Lewis is a New Zealand based writer who favors wine tasting and food markets over bungy jumping and mountain climbing.

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