From 1421 to 1928 Peking was the imperial capital of China. At its heart lay the Forbidden City, which was largely built during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). This was surrounded by the Imperial City and the Tartar City which shared a boundary with the Chinese City in the south. Contained by a series of walls, Peking was dotted with mansions, temples, imperial parks and lakes. Much of its character derived from street life in the network of narrow lanes lined with high walls and doorways which concealed courtyard houses. Beyond the city lay imperial retreats, secluded temples and groves of cedar and silver pine trees.