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The Layout of the Site of Xanadu

The Site of Xanadu mirrors strong Han influences and equaling distinctive Mongolia flavor. It crystallizes the society which struggled to outgrow its shell of nomadic past and embrace an alien, yet more enlightened and sophisticated culture: Han Chinese agrarian culture.
plan map of xanadu

Backed by hills and facing a river, the sprawling Xanadu on the Xar Tala Globeflower plain sheltered over 60 residences, 160 monasteries, Confucian academy and pavilions which spread out along the avenues neatly within the city wall with a circumference of over 8 km. Radiating from inside to outside, there are Palace City(宫城), Imperial City(皇城) and Outer City(外城) respectively.
plan map of site of xanadu

Palace City, the centerpiece of Shangdu, is the summer abode of emperors and his concubines. It features refreshing style. With east wall measuring 605 m, south wall stretching 542.5 m, west wall extending to 605.5 m and north wall at 542 m, Palace City does not conform to symmetry exactly, so does its wealth of mansions, pavilions, monasteries. Crisscrossing canals are dredged inside also. The iconic Tai’an Pavilion(大安阁), a frequent subject of historical and literature records, is the most prominent one. Crystal Palace(水晶宫) and Daming Palace(大明宫) are also notable buildings.
plan map of site of xanadu

Perched at the southeast corner of Xanadu, Imperial Palace(皇城) is fortified with imposing brick-stone wall and harbors Imperial Academy, monasteries, temples and living quarters. Encompassing around 1,981,050 m2, Imperial Palace is cut through by four parallel streets and three vertical ones. South section is the living quarters of the governmental officials, while the northeast and northwest parts are occupied by Ganyuan Monastery and Longguang Huayan Monastery respectively. Its southeast corner is shared by one Taoism monastery and one Confucian Temple. Imperial City and Outer City are inhabited by high ranking governmental officials.

Outer City

Situated in the northwest are of Imperial Palace, Outer City adopts a square pattern and spans an area of around 4884000 m2. The northern area of it sits the Imperial Garden, south of it are the living quarters of the governmental officials, monasteries and workshops. The outskirt of Xanadu belongs to market, folk residence and ware house area. Plenty of artifacts have been from there.

Imperial Garden is located at the north section of it. South of it lays a substantial number of crisscrossing streets. According to experts, they could be the handicraft area and business area built to serve the royal families and the officials.

What else to see in the Site of Xanadu?

(1) Tombs: In the outskirt of Xanadu, there is a constellation of tombs. Among which, Zhenzi Hill, Sheep Flock Monastery and One Tree are most notable ones. Zhenzi Hill boasts over 1500 tombs and is the most famous one.

(2) The Site of Xanadu Museum (Yuan Shangdu Museum元上都博物馆)
plan map of site of xanadu
site of xanadu
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