It's the ultimate in home repair: hundreds of rooms, a century of fire damage and neglect -- and steadily mounting wear and tear from 7 million visitors a year.
China is at work on the first full-scale effort to restore the imperial grandeur of its 584-year-old Forbidden City, the world's biggest palace and former residence of 24 emperors.
Rebuilding and painting the vermillion-walled palace is expected to take until 2020. The project includes tearing down a five-story museum and other modern buildings that disrupt the original layout of the grounds.
Carpenters and bricklayers are at work on scaffolding that shrouds giant gateways and halls where Ming and Qing dynasty rulers lived, played and governed an empire that stretched from the Pacific Ocean to Central Asia and from the tropics to Siberia.