Memoirs of Father Ripa

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  Peking is composed of two distinct cities,one being called the Tartar city.the other the Chinese.The Tartar city is so named because it is inhabited bv Tartars,and by those who,though not Tartars,are enrolled in the Ki-hiu-ti.or eight bands which constitute the Tartar troops.The Chinese city is inhabited by Chinese alone.It may be proper to observe that the district now called the Tartar city was in former times inhabited by the eunuchs in waiting,who amounted to ten thousand;but under the present dynasty it is inhabited,as I have said,by Tartars and Chinese of the Kihiu-ti.The about six thousand in number,live entirely wiminthe walls of the palace.The Tartar city is square,and encircled by a yellow wall.It is within this yellow wall that the imperial palace is situated,but it is surrounded again by another wall,more loftly than that of the city, and of vast extent.The inhabitants within amount to a great multitude;for besides the six thousand eunuchs.there is in the seraglio a vast assembly of women.of whom the Emperor alone knows the number.There is also within the imperial residence a great number of Tartars who are in the service of the Emperor’s sons,each of whom has his separate court;so that this palace may be very well considered as a third division,and Peking described as containing three distinct cities.
The Tartar city has nine gates.and each side of it is three miles in length.The Chinese city。which is also walled,joins the northern wall, which separates it from the Tartars.It is of the same size,but of a diffe:rent form.being 10nger from east to west than from north to south;and it is more densely peopled with the middling and 10wer classes than the other city.In its fcIur sides there are seven gates;and thus Peking has in all sixteen gates,and outside every gate there is a large suburb.The two cities together are twenty-one miles in circuit,according to a measurement made by the command of the Emperor.If to the circumference of twenty-one miles be added the suburbs and environs,which are also very populous, particularly those towards the west,through which nearly the whole commercial traffic of the Chinese capital passes,some idea may be formed of the vast size of this city.
Memoirs of Father Ripa