Beijing has been the political and cultural capital of China for almost a millenium. In imperial times, the center of Beijing and the Chinese universe was the Forbidden City. The former Chinese imperial palace built in the 15th century consists of 980 buildings, making it the world's largest surviving palace complex, as well as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. The name Forbidden city referred to the fact that no-one could enter the palace without the emperor's permission, the penalty being instant execution. In modern times, the ceremonial and symbolic center of Beijing has shifted to the adjacent Tiananmen square. Used as a massive meeting place since its creation, the square was the site of several important events in Chinese history. The largest city square in the world, Tiananmen square has accomodated more than a million people gathered to pay their last respects to Mao Zedong, whose gigantic portrait dominates the Tiananmen gate separating Tiananmen from the Forbiden City. The Forbidden city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
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There are 23 color pictures on this page out of 45 color pictures of Beijing.