The Forbidden City (Imperial Palace) in the heart of Beijing is the largest and most complete imperial palace and ancient building complex in China, and the world at large. Its construction began in 1406 and was completed 14 years later, having a history so far of some 580 years. Twenty-four emperors from the Ming and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties lived and ruled China from there. Most of the buildings in the Forbidden City were rebuilt many times, although they maintained the original architectural style.
Being the largest and most well-preserved royal park in China, The Summer Palace greatly influences Chinese horticulture and landscape with its famous natural views and cultural interests, which also has long been recognized as 'The Museum of Royal Gardens'. The Summer Palace’s landscaped gardens, temples, and pavilions were designed to achieve harmony with nature, to soothe, and to please the eye. So the Chinese name ‘Nourishing Peace Garden’ is apt. It harmonizes plants and paths, water and land, architecture and horticulture, epitomizing the philosophy and practice of Chinese garden design, which played a key role in the development of this cultural form throughout the East. It is a potent symbol of one of the world’s major civilizations.