Witness of the Imperial Age: Top 10 Royal Palaces in China

#10 Summer Palace – 290 hectares 

Built in 1750 during Qing Dynasty, It was more like a summer resort or a royal garden, and is now known as the ‘Royal Garden Museum’ in China. 

Summer Palace Scenery

Jade Belt Bridge

#9 Old Summer Palace – 347 hectares 

Next to Summer Palace, the old one used to be the place where emperors came here to deal with state affairs in summer. However, it was ruined during the 1860 Opium War, when its 1,500,000 valuable cultural and artistic relics were lost.

Beijing Old Summer Palace

#8 Palace Museum (Forbidden City) – 0.72 sq km

Built in 1406, it was the palace of 24 emperors of Ming and Qing dynasties, and is now celebrated as one of the world’s top 5 palace complexes, with more than 8000 rooms inside.

Full View of Palace Museum

Red Wall of Palace Museum

Inside Palace Museum

#7 Xingqing Palace – 1.3 sq km

Today’s Xingqing Park in Xian, it was the political center during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong and one of the three palaces during the great Tang Empire (618-907), and also the living place for Xuanzong and his favorite concubine Lady Yang (one of the Four Great Beauties in ancient China)

Xian Xingqing Park in Winter

Xingqing Park in Xian

#6 Luoyang Palace – 2.5 sq km

People called it Crape Myrtle City during the Sui Dynasty (581-618). Later in Tang Dynasty, it was repaired and further expanded, and renamed to be Luoyang Palace. 

China Luoyang Palace

Luoyang Palace of Ancient China

#5 Daming Palace – 3.2 sq km

Initially built in 634, Daming Palace became the new political center after 662 during the reign of Emperor Tang Gaozong, but destroyed during the civil war in 896. 

Daming Palace of Ancient China

China Daming Palace

#4 Taiji Palace – 4.2 sq km

Another Important imperial palace in ancient Changan (today’s Xian), it was the political center during early Tang Dynasty – many famous historical stories happened here. Destroyed in the war, its ruins and relics are still preserved today. 

China Taiji Palace

#3 Weiyang Palace – about 5 sq km

The royal palace during Western Han Dynasty (202 BC to 8 AD) is now located 3 km northeast of Xian. 

China Weiyang Palace

#2 Epang Palace – destroyed before it was accomplished

It had been the political center of the Qin Empire (221 BC to 207 BC) - the first centralized feudal state in Chinese history, and one of Qin’s four great engineering projects along with the Great Wall, Terra Cotta Warriors and the Royal Way. In 1992, UNESCO identified it as world’s largest palace base.

China Epang Palace

#1 Xianyang Palace – thousands of times more massive than Palace Museum

In today’s Xianyang City, Xianyang Palace was first built before the establishment of Qin Dynasty, and kept enlarging, but destroyed by war at the end of Qin. It is a huge challenge of archaeological history as it was so big. 

China Xianyang Palace

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