Awesome Architecture in Asia – The Most Beautiful Buildings in the East

in China, Hong Kong, South Korea

A visit to Asia wouldn’t be complete without taking in the breathtaking architecture of the continent’s palaces, temples, and castles.

From holy places of worship to monuments made for royalty, here are some of the more beautiful buildings in the Orient. China's Summer Palace was first built in 1750 as the Garden of Clear Ripples. It suffered major attacks during the Anglo-French allied invasion and Boxer Rebellion, but was always restored to its former glory. The striking pavilions, halls, and temples of this World Heritage site are complemented by rolling hills and beautiful water features. The Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu must have been a lucky man. Japan's Kinkaku-ji, or the Golden Pavilion as English speakers call it, was built as his retirement home in 1397. He lived out his days in the magnificent gold-leaf adorned three-tier building. On his death the pavilion in Kyoto was converted to a Zen temple, according to Yoshimitsu's wishes. Looking at the clear reflection of the Golden Pavilion on the ground's mirror pond may be as close to enlightenment as most of us will get. [caption id="attachment_4485" align="alignright" width="150" caption="The Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, Japan"]The Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, Japan[/caption] Changeokgung Palace is one of South Korea's five grand palaces, but it's the one that most princes of the Joseon Dynasty liked the best. It's not hard to see why. Its secret garden was a favorite place for archery games and fireworks displays, with its lotus ponds and landscaped lawns. The building itself strives to blend in to its natural surrounds, a revolutionary idea for 1405. Sadly much of the palace was destroyed during the Japanese occupation of Korea, so only about a third of its structures remain. It may not have the rich history of the other buildings we’ve mentioned, but that's no reason to dismiss Coconut Palace in The Philippines. This palace was built under the order of former First Lady Imelda Marcos for Pope John Paul II's 1981 visit. The octagon-shaped building is an excellent example of Filipino design, with its body of hardwood and materials derived from the coconut. There are even more coconuts inside, with coconut chandeliers and furniture inlaid with coconut shells. This quirky building is easily accessible for tourists as it's part of Manila Bay's cultural center complex. So make sure you get out of the bustling cities while you're traveling around Asia; there are some stunning architectural marvels just waiting to be explored.

[Image Source: Neepster/Flickr]

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