We have put together a #ShortList of Palaces of Asia this week. Being an incredibly diverse region, we have included some well-known castles as well as a few obscure from Asia-minor, following the Silk Road.
Potala Palace, Tibet
Named after Mount Potalaka, said to be the mythical abode of the boddhisatva Avalokiteśvara (the Lord who looks down), the Palace was once the chief residence of the Dalai Lama – until the political exile of His 14th incarnation.
Summer Palace, China
This complex of lakes, gardens and palaces is located in Beijing, China, covering an 2.9km sq area. The Tower of Buddhist Incense is the focal point of the palace, which is dominated by its position on Longevity Hill.
Grand Palace, Thailand
In the heart of Bangkok, Thailand and across from the Chao Phraya River lies the golden grandeur of the Grand Palace. You won’t see another building covered in as much gold-leaf, its beauty truly defined at sunset when the sky radiates its warm luminance.
Himeiji Castle, Japan
More romantically referred to as the White Heron Castle, owing to the brilliant white exterior and its resemblance to bird that is about to take flight- the nearly 700 year castle remains completely intact, even surviving extensive bombing in the region during World War II and also natural disasters, such as the Hanshin earthquake of 1995.
Dating back to at least 500BC, this citadel prospered on the Silk Road, at the crossroads of important trade routes for silk and other garments. It was built almost entirely of non-baked clay bricks, which left it vulnerable to extensive damage during an earthquake in 2003. The government, however, is committed to its restoration and the site remains largely visitable.