China, Beijing, South Gate of Zhongmamhai

Beijing, South Gate of Zhongmamhai

Zhongnanhai is an imperial garden in Imperial City, Beijing, China located west of the Forbidden City. After the Ming Dynasty moved its capital to Beijing, construction on the existing Imperial Palace began in 1406. The name of the Zhongnanhai complex reffers to two lakes (the "Central Sea" and "Southern Sea") located within the compound and is translated as "Sea Palaces". During the Yuan Dynasty, the third lake was included in the Imperial City. The lakes were part of an extensive royal park to the west of the Imperial Palace. Later the lakes were connected and were collectively called the Taiye Lake. Three palaces were built around this lake. Several consecutive emperors built pavilions and houses along the lake shores, where they would carry out government duties in the summer. Today Zhongnanhai serves as the central headquarters for the Communist Party of China and the State Council (Central government) of the People's Republic of China. The term Zhongnanhai is associated with the central government and senior Communist Party officials. It is often used as a metonym for the Chinese leadership, similar to The White House in Washington.