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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Beijing - Jingshan Park

Event date: 4th December 2006

Situated right in the city center, it is a beautiful royal landscape garden. Covering an area of 230,000 square meters (about 57 acres), the park stands on the central point of the south-north axis of the city and faces the north gate of the Forbidden City. The park was develop on Jingshan Hill, which was originally named Wansui Hill (Long Live Hill), Zhen Hill or Meishan Hill (Coal Hill). The mid summit of the hill is the highest point in Beijing. Photo below was snapped just after the exit from the North Gate @ known as Gate of Divine Prowess, Forbidden City. 


During the Yuan (1271-1368), Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, the hill served as an imperial garden and was properly laid out under the Ming Dynasty when numerous fruit trees were planted as well as many palaces and pavilions built for the emperor to make sacrifices to his ancestors. As a result, the royal families always enjoyed amusements here, like hunting in the hills. Then, in 1928, it was opened to the public. Later, after 1949, the park was fully rebuilt, with the paths in it paved and most of the buildings renovated. Now, the present is one of the best scenery spots in China and a 'must visit place' for visitors to Beijing.


Upon entering the front gate of the park, visitors can see the Qiwang Pavilion (in above photo), embraced by the vigorous green cypresses. This was originally the place for emperors to worship the memorial tablet of Confucius. Surrounded by white marble balustrades, the two-storied pavilion with its golden-glazed roof appears quite dignified.



The hill has five summits, and on each summit there is a pavilion, built in 1751. In every pavilion, there was originally placed a copper Buddha statue which represented one of the five tastes-sour, bitter, sweet, acrid and salt. It is a pity that they were all lost during the warfare of 1900. Among the five pavilions, the Wanchun Pavilion (Ten Thousand Spring Pavilion), on the middle of the five summits, sits at the hill's central point of the city. It is a perfect place to appreciate the full view of the city. From this pavilion, visitors are able to see the resplendent and magnificent Forbidden City in the south, the dignified Bell and Drum Tower in the north, as well as Beihai Park and White Dagoba Temple in the west. Note: We did not explore till the top due to time constraint.



The last emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Chongzhen, committed suicide by hanging himself here in 1644. Below photo was the place of suicidal event which now being commerated. Despite an unfortunate event, Jingshan park is especially a popular place for elderly people socializing and gathering. One can often find elderly folks dancing, singing opera and doing other cultural activities, such as kuai ban, at Jingshan.


In the north side of the hill is found the Shouhuang Hall (Hall of Imperial Longevity), originally the place for the emperors in the Qing dynasty to pay their respects to their ancestors. Some of the emperors' portraits were worshiped in it. To the east of the Shouhuang Hall, stands the Yongsi Hall (Missing Hall), the place for resting the dead bodies of the past emperors and queens.


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