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China Imperial Palace

Starting from Qin Dynasty (221~207 BC), except for short periods of disunity, China was ruled by a succession of imperial dynasties. And even more warlords proclaimed themselves emperors even though reigning over a mere region of China. Palaces were built in each dynasty, as the royal residence as well as the political centre of the empire.

The following table lists the locations of the imperial palaces of the few successive major dynasties in Chinese history.
DynastyImperial PalaceLocation
QinXianyang Palace
Epang Palace
Xianyang, on the west of Xi’an
Western HanChangle Palace
Weiyang Palace
Jianzhang Palace
Eastern HanSouthern Palace
Northern Palace
TangTaiji Palace
Daming Palace
Xingqing Palace
Song Kaifeng, Hangzhou
YuanDanei Palace
Longfu Palace
Xingsheng Palace
MingForbidden CityBeijing
QingForbidden CityBeijing
Traditional Chinese architecture, with wood as one of its major materials, used to be rather vulnerable. Most palaces have been destroyed in history by fire, earthquake, warfare, etc. The Forbidden City, the former royal palace of both Ming and Qing Dynasties is the only imperial palace that has survived to this day.

Imperial palaces are of unique outstanding architectural value. As the residence of the royal family and the seat of the empire’s political centre, palace architecture not only embodies the system of values, cosmology, philosophy, etc. held by the ancient Chinese, but delivers a sense of grandeur of the imperial institution. The Forbidden City, for instance, covers an area of over 150,000 square meters, rooms totaling nearly 9,000, and is the world’s largest, best preserved palace architecture ensemble. The ancient Chinese observed a whole set of architecture rules, laying out different specifications (e.g., regarding the levels and widths of the building structure) for buildings owned by different political status. And palace architecture was built to the highest specifications.
Palace architecture, Forbidden City, China Architecture
The Forbidden City is the world's largest and best preserved palace architecture ensemble.

Palace architecture, China Architecture

Palace architecture, China Architecture

Architectural styles of the royal palace imbues the viewer with a sense of grandeur and authority.

Royal palace architecture was built to the highest specifications. A detailed example is the number of beasts (supposed to ward off evil spirits) on the roof a hall, which indicates the importance of the building. On the roof of the Hall of Supreme Harmony, there are ten of them, the largest number in Chinese architecture.



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