Yuanmingyuan Park, situated in the northwest of Beijing, is the most magnificent royal garden of the Qing Dynasty. Construction started in 1709 during the rule of the Emperor of Kangxi (the second emperor of the Qing Dynasty.), continued through 6 subsequent emperors, and finally finished in 1875.
The park is comprised of the Eternal Spring Garden, the Wanchun Garden, and Yuanmingyuan Garden with an area of 40 acres (over 160,000 square meters), as big as the Imperial Palace.
Yuanmingyuan Park was named by Emperor Kangxi. “Yuanming” means round and brightness in Chinese, and the Chinese character is “圆明”. “Yuan” here implies moderation, and “Ming” means that the brightness will cover the whole nation. Yuanmingyuan drew on the characteristics of Suzhou gardens and inherited the best of ancient Chinese gardening.
The southern part of Yuanmingyuan Park is where the emperor handled national affairs. The rest part includes forty scenic areas: famous parks, lakes, and mountains. Yuanmingyuan was also similar to an art museum which collected numerous pieces of art from around the country. Yuanmingyuan Park was also the home of various sorts of exotic flowers and unusual trees. No wonder that Yuanmingyuan Park was termed “the most beautiful garden in the world”.
Unfortunately, this grand royal garden fell into ruins during the Second Opium War. British and French troops ruthlessly invaded Beijing in 1860 and on October 6, the Yuanmingyuan was seized by British and French forces which was followed by looting. After vandalizing the park, the Earl of Elgin ordered to set fire to the Yuanmingyan Park to conceal their guilt. After three days of burning, the park was turned from a beauty into a desert.
After the establishment of the People Republic of China in 1949, the central government attached considerable importance to the preservation of Yuanmingyuan Park. In 1979, Yuanmingyuan became one of the key national cultural preservation centers. The restoration of the park had been gradually carried out since 1979. Today, Yuanmingyuan has been transformed into a memorial park.
Admission Fee: 10RMB
Open Time: 7:00-19:00