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(also Kukung; since 1914, a museum), in Peking, one of the most important medieval urban architectural ensembles in China. The beginning of the palace’s construction can be traced to the early 15th century. Its territory, rectangular in plan (960 m × 750 m), is surrounded by a moat and by brick walls 10 m in height, with four gates (the main south gate is called the Wumen). The palace occupies the central part of the city on an axis intersecting Peking from north to south. The complex of the Three Great Halls—the former official imperial residence—is the main part of the Imperial Palace and is oriented along the north-south axis. It consists of consecutively joined squares, surrounded by various buildings; the most important are the central T’aihotien pavilion (1421, reconstructed in 1697), the Chunghotien and Paohotien pavilions (both built in the 15th century and rebuilt in the 17th and 18th centuries), the T’aihomen gate (rebuilt in 1889), and the Chiench’ingmen gate. The enfilade composition, with its dynamic, solemn rhythm, discloses new architectural and spatial effects to the visitor as he advances through the palace.