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Shenyang (northeast) is the capital of Liaoning Province, the southernmost province of the historic land of Manchuria. It was a Mongol trading center from as far back as the 11th century and became the capital of the Manchu empire in the 17th century. At the turn of the 20th century Russians occupied the city, and after the Russian-Japanese war (1904-1905) Japanese came here.
In the city center you can see Imperial Palace that is a mini-Forbidden City in the same layout but far smaller and with Manchurian features. The main structure was started by Nurhachi and completed in 1636 by his son. Today the Palace functions as a museum with exhibition of ivory and jade artifacts, furniture, and Min and Qing paintings. There is also a nice display of enamels and ceramics and an extensive collection of musical instruments.
The finest sight in Shenyang is North Tomb (beiling) that is the burial place of Huang Taiji (1592-1643), the founder of the Qing Dynasty. The tomb took eight years to build and the impressive animal statues along the way to it are reminiscent of the Ming Tombs. The central grassy mound area is known as Zhaoling. East Tomb (dongling) is known as Fuling and is set in a forested area, 8 km from Shenyang. Entombed here is Nurhachi, along with his mistress. Started in 1626, construction of this tomb took several years to complete. It is also interesting to visit Zhongshan Square with its unique statue of Mao.