Imperial Historical Archives

The Imperial Historical Archives (Huangshi-cheng) is situated on the eastern side of the southern end of Nanchizi Street, southeast of the Working People's Cultural Palace. First built in 1534 during the reign of Emperor Jiajing of the Ming Dynasty, it was rebuilt by the Qing Emperor Jiaqing in 1807, maintaining the original scale and design.

The Imperial Historical Archives is China's oldest state archives. In the early century, it housed a copy of the Yongle Encyclopedia (Yongle Dadian) and later it was used to store important historical documents of the emperors such as the "True Narration"(Shilu), "Imperial Teaching" (Shengxun) and "Precious Records" (Yudie). A total of 152 cabinets of gold-plated camphor wood covered with a cloud and dragon design in copper are used to store the materials.

Situated on a north-south axis, the main building stands like a palace with its yellow glazed tiles. Not a single bit of wood went into the construction; the five-meter-thick wall and gate guarded by a stone ensure that the building is completely fireproof. This is the last of its kind, a Ming Dynasty architectural wonder, to be found in Beijing.

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