Begun in 1626, the Imperial Palace is essentially a vastly scaled-down replica of Beijing’s Forbidden City. Entering from the south, you’ll first come across the Cong Zhen Dian, a low, wooden-fronted hall where the Qing dynasty was proclaimed and which was used by ministers to discuss state affairs. Beyond here, in the second courtyard, stands the Phoenix Tower, most formal of the ceremonial halls, and the Qingning building, which housed bedrooms for the emperor and his concubines.

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