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Northwest Corner Watchtower, Forbidden City, Beijing

The northwest corner tower of the outer defensive wall of the Forbidden City in Beijing. The Forbidden City is a palace complex consisting of 980 buildings that cover an area of 720,000 square meters. It is surrounded by a 7.9-metre high wall and a moat that is six metres deep and 25 metres wide.

According to legend, the Yongle Emperor, who had the Forbidden City constructed in Beijing during the Ming Dynasty, ordered the chief architect to design the corner towers with 9 beams, 18 columns and 72 ridges in nine days. Still without a design after eight days, the architect was sitting in a teahouse when he was approached by an old peddler selling a cricket cage. He tried to dismiss the man, but the peddler told the architect to look at the cage more closely, whereupon he realized it was a model of the tower. The peddler was, in fact, Lu Ban, the patron saint of Chinese craftsmen.

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