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Key Buildings from Prehistory to the Present by Andrew Ballantyne

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Imperial Palace of Kyoto

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Kyoto, Japan; 794–1855

The Imperial Palace was part of the city of Kyoto when it was laid out in 794. Over its history it has burnt down at least eight times, so it has been through a process of renewal like that of the Ise Jingu shrine (pages 26–27), but rather less systematic. The current structural fabric dates from 1855, but the traditions it embodies were very well established by the time it was built, so it was probably successful in its aim to reproduce the buildings of the Heian period (794–1185), when the palace was founded.

The Heian era took its name from the place. Heian-kyo, meaning ‘tranquillity and peace ...

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