AP PHOTOS: Red lanterns, lasers light up the Forbidden City

The Lantern Festival that lit up Beijing’s Forbidden City on Tuesday night was not one the last emperor would have recognized.

The festival marking the end of 15 days of lunar new year celebrations included traditional red-paper lanterns. But people lucky enough to snag tickets also saw a laser light show and the compound’s historic buildings bathed in colorful lights projecting Chinese characters, paintings and decorations.

Many people watched from outside the vast palace compound in Beijing, from where Ming and Qing dynasty emperors ruled for five centuries before the last emperor abdicated in 1912.

The Palace Museum, established 94 years ago, was allowing the public inside at night for the first time for the light show and traditional opera performances on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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