The Forbidden City, for 500 years the capital of the Chinese empire, lies in the heart of Beijing. It was the home of 24 Chinese emperors from 1420 to 1912. More than a residential palace, it is a city within a city, the seat of a vast bureaucratic government that ruled the most populous empire on earth. Rumoured to have 9,999 rooms, the Forbidden City is the largest palace on earth. The palace buildings, constructed almost entirely of wood, are the largest wooden buildings ever built. It was a truly "forbidden" city. For centuries access was denied to all but the emperor's family and his most senior officials and servants. A swift and painful execution faced anyone who trespassed on its sacred precincts. With unprecedented access our cameras enter into the heart of the palace, into its most secret corners, to provide the most stunning images of the magnificent buildings and reveal the secrets of those who lived there.