This is a photo of the Gate of Heavenly Peace of the Forbidden City from Tiananmen Square. The square is also bordered by the Monument to the People's Heroes, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of China, and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong. Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China in the square on October 1, 1949. Tiananmen Square is within the top ten largest city squares in the world.
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Constructed from 1406 to 1420, the Forbidden city was the ceremonial and political centre of China for over 500 years. In 1912, the Ming dynasty came to an end. The last emperor was deposed and the Forbidden City became a museum and a repository for art and cultural artifacts.
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The Summer Palace is about 20 kilometres from downtown Beijing. Pictured here on Longevity Hill is the Tower of Buddhist Incense. The building is 41 metres in height and was a place of Buddhist worship. It is an octagonal shape made of wood and constructed on a stone foundation that is 21 metres high. It is considered a masterpiece of architecture.
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At the top of Longevity Hill at the Summer Palace sits the Hall of the Sea of Wisdom. The walls are covered in beautiful tiles, many which contain images of Buddhas. Many the tiles has been damaged over the years. Some by European English-Franco army during the 2nd Opium war. Others by students during the Cultural Revolution. Despite the minor damage, the building is well worth the hike to the top of the hill.
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The Summer Palace's Marble Boat was also known as the Boat of Purity and Ease. It was first erected in 1755. After Anglo French forces destroyed it in 1860, the Empress Dowager Cixi had it and much of the Imperial Garden restored using money that was earmarked for the Chinese navy. The boat is 36 metres long and in addition to a stone base is said to have a significant amount of wood painted to look like marble.
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Beijing Summer Palace Suzhou Street 11. On the North of the Hill of Longevity lies Suzhou Street. An area of the Imperial Garden that was designed to imitate the Suzhou Water Town. Here, the Imperial Family and select nobles could pretend to be shopping in Suzhou while Eunuchs and concubines played the parts of shopkeepers, common folk and even pickpockets.
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Set along the foot of Longevity Hill is a Long Corridor, a covered walkway constructed in the mid 18th century and famed for it's multiple images. This painted mural is one of many found in the 728 metre Long Corridor. The murals within the corridor contain classical scenes from Chinese mythology and folklore including the four classic novels of China and The 24 Exemplars.
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One of the draws of the Forbidden City are the artifacts and artwork that are contained within the complex. This rich ceramic tile mosaic is one of the Nine Dragons of the Nine Dragon Wall. It was built in 1771. There is a similar wall in Beijing in Behia park.
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