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Site of Grand Gate of 1,300-year-old Palace Discovered

Chinese archaeologists have found a grand gate of the 1,300-year-old Daming Palace, the largest imperial architectural complex of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

Archaeologists have recently discovered that the Danfeng Gate, or Vermillion Phoenix Gate, of the Daming Palace, had five doorways, which means it was the largest-scale imperial palace gate in the Chinese history, said Chinese archaeologist An Jiayao on Friday. 

An, a researcher with the Institute of Archaeology under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the gates of ancient Chinese palaces usually had one or three doorways. Palace gate with five doorways was very rare.

The famous Tian'anmen in Beijing, a gate outside the palace of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, also has five doorways. But archaeologists do not classify it as a palace gate, according to An. 

Historical documents show that the Danfeng Gate, the southern gate of the Daming Palace, was built in 662 AD, and was the main gate for Tang emperors to exit and enter the palace. An arch with a high tower was built over the gate, which was a site for emperors to hold important ceremonies. 

The palace was abandoned after the capital of Tang was moved to Luoyang, in today's central China's Henan Province, in 904 AD. 

After more than one thousand years, the remains of the grand palace was covered by houses of residents, who don't know the mound, about 60 meters long, 49 meters wide, and three meters high, was once a palace gate where many important historical events took place. 

A cultural relics protection project was launched this year by the government of Xi'an to clear the modern buildings around the remains of the ancient palace and relocate the residents. And archaeologists began to excavate the Dangfeng Gate in September. 

(Xinhua News Agency December 6, 2005)

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