Located northwest of the city centre, Yuan Ming Yuan is the most magnificent garden in Chinese history. Yuan Ming Yuan in Chinese means "the Gardens of Perfect Brighness". It spanned a three-hundred-fifty hectare area with a fairyland of hills, ponds, lakes, ancient trees and palaces filled with one and half centuries of imperial treasure collections. So Chinese also gave it nickname as the "Garden of Gardens".
The Yuanmingyuan Park covers a total area of 350 acres and the architecture area of 160, 000 square meters, 10,000 square meters larger than the Forbidden City. The construction of the park buildings started in the 18th year of Emperor Kangxi in Qing Dynasty (1709A.D.), went through six emperors and finally finished building of Yuanmingyuan Park, Chang Chun Garden, and Wan Chun Garden, after more than 150 years. These three gardens are often referred to as a joint name: The Yuanmingyuan Park.
Unfortunately, all the traditional Chinese halls were burned down by British and French troops during the Second Opium War in 1860. Later the European-style buildings were pulled down, and much of the remains carted away by the locals for building purposes. Chinese narrations of the devastation criticize both the marauding European troops and the ineffectual Qing Dynasty rulers. Today, Yuanming Yuan is a jumble of sad, yet graceful fragments of stone and marble strewn in the Eternal Spring Garden in the park¡¯s northeastern corner. A small museum displays images and models of the palace, depicting its scale and magnificence. The Palace Maze has been recreated in concrete to the west of the ruins. The rest of the park is a pleasant expanse of lakes, pavilions, gardens, and walks.
7:00 to 19:00 (May to Aug)
7:00 to 18:30 (Apr, Sep and Oct)
7:00 to 17:30 (Jan to March, Nov and Dec)
Admission Fee: RMB 25
Address: No.28, Qinghuaxilu, Haidian District
How to get:
Take minibus 375 from the Xizhimen subway station, or get off at the Wudaokou subway station. Minibuses also connect the new Summer Palace with the old one, or a taxi will take you for RMB10.