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Other important buildings include the Pavilion of the Four-tongued Stele (Yubi Ting), which houses a stele dating back to 1792 that contains the history of the Lama religion written in Chinese, Manchurian, Tibetan, and Mongolian; the Hall of the Buddhist Wheel (Falun Dian), the teaching and assembly hall of the monastery, its interior dominated by a six-meter-tall statue, two thrones, and numerous sacred manuscripts; and the largest building at the Lama Temple, the Pavilion of Four Thousand Fortunes (Wangfu Ge) with its enormous 18-meter-high sandalwood statue.

Arts and culture buffs are extremely well catered to in Beijing.

Its immense size is the result of enlargements made during the Ming Dynasty between 14 after the capital was transferred here from Nanking.

All told, this beautiful palace has been home to 24 Ming and Qing Emperors, earning its nickname of the Forbidden City due to the fact ordinary citizens weren't allowed access.

Also of interest is the nearby Imperial College, founded in 1287 by Kublai Khan and only closed in 1900.

Tian'anmen Square (the Square of Heavenly Peace) is the world's largest inner-city square, designed to hold a million people and built to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Chinese Republic in 1958.

Other highlights include the mammoth Tian'anmen Square, numerous important temples, and new construction brought about by the city's increased prosperity and major events such as the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Also noteworthy is the statue of Weituo, the protector of Buddhism, holding an iron staff.The complex covers 720,000 square meters, all of it surrounded by a 10-meter-high wall with towers in the four corners and a 50-meter-wide moat, and is divided into an area used for ceremonial and administrative purposes, as well as the private quarters used by the Emperor and his concubines.Highlights include the Meridian Gate, built in 1420; the Golden River Bridges, five richly decorated white marble bridges; the 35-meter-high Hall of Supreme Harmony containing the splendidly decorated gilded imperial throne; the Hall of Preserving Harmony, which functioned as the Emperor's banquet hall; and the Hall of Military Courage, a permanent residence and private audience hall for the emperors.(English language and self-guided tours are available.) Another nearby attraction is the National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube for its attractive night-time display that sees it lit up and looking like a giant ice-cube.In addition to being the site of Olympic swimming events, part of the building has been turned into the fun Watercube Waterpark.

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