Beijing's Guozijian Imperial College in Guozijian Street, originally built in CE 1306 in the 10th year of the Dade (CE 1297-1307) reign of Emperor Chengzong of the Yuan (CE 1279-1368) Dynasty, was China's highest-ranking and most prestigious national educational institution for over 600 years, spanning a period of three dynasties: the Yuan, Ming (CE 1368-1644) and Qing (CE 1644-1911) Dynasties.
The college's main entrance, Jixian ("Gathering of Virtuous People") Gate, its glazed-roof memorial archway, Taixue Gate, its main building, Piyong (where the emperor traditionally gave a lecture each year), its Yilun Hall and Jingyi Pavilion all form a central axis. On either side of this main axis are distributed four chambers and six halls, following the traditional Chinese symmetrical layout. Guozijian Street is lined on both sides by large Japanese pagoda trees (Sophora japonica). The street is further special in that it has a painted archway at either end, and a painted archway on either side of the main gate, making it the only street in Beijing, if not in all of China, adorned in this unique manner.
Beijing's Guozijian Imperial College is the last remaining university dating from China's ancient past that is still under the direct administration of the central government.
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