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Satellite Image: Beijing (Summer Palace)
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This satellite image provides a bird's view of the Forbidden City in the center of Beijing. Five bridges (bottom of image) lead to the Gate of Heavenly Peace (where you still find the huge image of Mao Zedong). The gate is a massive structure, flanked by the famous red wall on the left and right.
As you follow the alley up to the Meridian Gate, which is the entrance to the actual palace, you pass the Zhongshan Park (on the left) and the Workers Cultural Palace (on the right). The palace is surrounded by a wide moat (dark green in the image). After entering the palace the Gate of Supreme Harmony becomes visible. The large structure on the left is the Hall of Military Prowess, the bigger building on the right is the Literary Glory Hall.
As one moves further into the palace, a big building - almost in the center of the palace - becomes visible: The Palace Museum. It consists of three connected buildings: The Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Hall of Middle Harmony, and the Hall of Preserving Harmony. The Hall of Supreme Harmony is the biggest and most important building of the Forbidden City. The current structure was build in the 15th century and restored in the 17th century. It was mainly used for ceremonial purposes of the court.
The upper third of the palace was the living quarters of the Emperor. It can be entered through the Heavenly Purity Gate. There are three main structures: The Palace of Heavenly Purity and the Earthly Tranquility Palace - with the Hall of Union.
At the northern end of the Forbidden City is the Imperial Garden, a classical Chinese rockeries garden, with some very old and peculiar trees.

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Copyright 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 by Gerhard K. Heilig. All rights reserved. - 30 Sept. 2012