The Gate of Earthly Tranquility marks the end of the Inner court and leads to the Imperial Garden. This Garden was laid out during the Ming Dynasty on an invisible axis, the buildings on both sides of the axis maintained in perfect balance.
This garden has an area of over 12,000 square meters. The Hall of Imperial Peace (Qin An Dian) stands in the middle, surrounded by a rectangular wall. It was built as early as the 15th century. Two gilded unicorns (Qilin) guard the door.
The unicorns are supposed to be able to protect the hall from evil spirits. The Hall stands amidst trees, natural rockeries, flower beds, pavilions, terraces, and bronze incense burners. It is a miracle to be able to maintain the natural beauty and harmonious layout within such a limited space.
The Pavilion of Ten Thousand Springs ( Wan Chun ting) lies in the east of the garden. It was built in 1535 and restored during the Qing Dynasty. This pavilion is meant to symbolize the spring, and undoubtedly, there are also three other pavilions which symbolize the summer, autumn and winter respectively.
Accummlated Beauty Hill (Dui Xiu Shan) is a little artificial mountain with a cave. It is located to the northeast. Fountains play around it and the Pavilion of Imperial View is on top of the mountain. The Qing Emperors would climb up to the Pavilion on the Double Yang Festival to enjoy the scenery with the royal family.
This garden was used by the imperial family to sip tea, play chess, meditate and have all kinds of fun! Can you imagine the luxury of living here!
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