Shenyang Imperial Palace is the only existing royal palace in China outside of the Forbidden City in Beijing. Located at No. 171, Shenyang Road in Shenyang City,Shenyang Imperial Palace was built in 1625 when Nurhachi was in power. It was finished in 1636 by his son Abahai (Huangtaiji). Nurhachi and Abahai were both founding emperors of the Qing Dynasty.
Besides the Forbidden City in Beijing, the Shenyang Imperial Palace is the only other existing palace complex in China. Within its walls much is revealed about the early Qing Dynasty. It was listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 2004 as an extension of the Forbidden City and is now the most popular and renowned tourist attraction in Shenyang.
The Shenyang Imperial Palace has a history of 400 years and a cluster of palaces surrounded from east, middle and west sides, the layout of which appears to be natural, sublime and imposing. Upon defeating the Ming (1368-1644), the Manchus moved their court to Beijing and Shenyang became the accompanying capital mainly for emergency uses. The main structure of the palace was started by Nuerhachi (1559-1626) and completed by his son Abahai (1592-1643), both founding emperors of the Qing Dynasty, China's last dynasty that was founded by the Manchu aristocrats in 1644 and collapsed in 1911.
After the dynasty territorially expanded southward and eventually ruled the whole China, the Forbidden City in Beijing succeeded it as royal residence. But still, Qing Emperors Kangxi and Qianlong, the two longest-ruling emperors in China's history, expanded the palace and added Han and Mongol architectural styles to its original Manchu style.
What to see ?
With an area of more than 60,000 square meters, the Shenyang Imperial Palace is one twelfth the size of the Forbidden City in Beijing. It consists of more than 300 rooms, formed around 20 courtyards.It can be divided into three sections-the eastern section, the middle section and the western section. Each section boasts of unique characteristics.
The eastern section contains the very impressive Hall of Great Affairs (Da Zheng Dian). Here emperors ascended the throne, enacted imperial edicts, and welcomed victorious generals and soldiers. A group of pavilions, known as the Ten Kings Pavilion, stand to its east and west. They formerly served as the place where emperors and leaders from the eight banners (Ba Qi) settled national affairs. This architectural style of Shenyang Imperial Palace is unique. The style of the buildings, which displays an amalgamation of Han, Manchu and Mongolian cultures, all originated from the shape of a nomadic tent. The eastern section of the palace is representative of the whole palace.
The middle section starts from the Da Qing Gate, with Chong Zheng Dian (Jin Luan Dian), the Phoenix Tower and Qingning Palace arranged on a central axis from south to north. Chong Zheng Dian is the place where Abahai held court. It is the most important building in the Shenyang Imperial Palace. The Phoenix Tower, a three-storied building, was the highest structure in the whole city at that time. Qingning Palace was the bedchamber for Abahai and his concubines.
The western section was constructed by order of Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799). Its main structure is the Wen Su Pavilion. In front of this, there are the Opera Stage and Jiayin Hall and behind it is the Yang Xi Room. The Wen Su Pavilion, which contains the Complete Collection of Four Treasures, has a black roof because black was considered to represent water which could be used to extinguish a fire to protect the priceless books contained inside.
The Shenyang Imperial Palace houses many ancient cultural relics, such as Nurhachi's sword and Abahai's broadsword. There are also many artworks displayed here, such as paintings, calligraphy, pottery, sculptures and lacquer ware.
Add: No. 171, Shenyang Lu, Shenhe District, Shenyang City, Liaoning Province
Entrance Fee: CNY 60Opening Hours:08:00-17:30
Transport:Take bus no.17, 118, 132, 140, 213, 222, 228, 257, 276, 287, 290, 292, 294 and 296 to get off at Gugong Station.
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