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Japan -> Nara
Nara Prefecture

The small, unassuming town of Nara was actually once the flourishing first capital of Japan. In 710, Empress Gemmei founded the city, then known as Heijo, and intended it as a permanent capital. The city was modeled after China's Chang'an, the great Tang dynasty city that was the sophisticated metropolis of that time. Chang'an was also the hub of the Silk Road and Nara became its far eastern point. Chinese, Korean, Indian, and even Persian influences can be seen in Nara's artwork and architecture. The city lost its title as capital, however, in 794 when Emperor Kammu moved it to Kyoto. The city has suffered from natural disasters, fires, and redevelopment, but there are temples from the 7th and 8th centuries that still stand.

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