Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu, Japan - 2015
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The Shuri Palace (also called Shuri Castle) in Naha, Okinawa, was for several centuries the residence of the rulers of the former kingdom of Ryukyu.
Due to its privileged location, at the crossroads of China, Japan and Southeast Asia, the Ryukyu Kingdom absorbed many cultural influences that have allowed it to develop a unique style that remains today.
Shuri Palace and its vibrant colors are second to none in Japan. In the throne room, the calligraphy hanging above the throne is a replica of a plaque offered by China to the Ryukyu Kingdom, a souvenir of one of the many Chinese embassies sent here.
Like many buildings in Okinawa, Shuri Palace was largely destroyed during the Second World War, as a result of a fire. Today, only some of the original structures remain, such as gusuku (fortress) walls made of limestone blocks.
These remaining structures are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The rest of the palace was rebuilt in 1992, mainly using old photographs as a guide but also precise research and a deep desire for authenticity.