The Yuanmingyuan were considered to be gardens, hence the term yuan. Each consisted of a number of complexes containing buildings of various types, artfully arranged in a “natural” setting that was carefully designed with lakes and streams, hills, bridges, pathways and pagodas. Unlike European palaces, where the building was the central focus, in a Chinese paradise the buildings are linked together. Altogether there were 650 individual structures. The total area was over 800 acres.