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Beihai Park

Updated:2008-06-06 10:19 | Source:

  Beihai (North Sea) Park is one of the most

  popular parks in the city of Beijing. It covers a

  total area of over 68 hectares, more than half of it

  is taken up by the lake. Early in the 10th century,

  the Liao Dynasty built a secondary imperial

  residence here, called Yaoyu or Jade Islet. When the

  Jin took over, they renamed the capital Zhongdu,

  meaning Central Capital, and built an imperial

  palace. Qionghua (Jade Flowery) Islet was built of

  earth dug out from the lake, and the rocks used for

  piling on the hill were brought from Kaifeng, Henan

  Province. During the Yuan Dynasty, the place was

  rebuilt three times, and Guanghandian or the Palace

  in the Moon where Kublai Khan used to live and many

  other palace buildings were built on top of the

  hill. It was in this palace that Kublai Khan

  received Marco Polo. Unfortunately it was destroyed.

  The Islet became the centre of Dadu (Great Capital)

  and is still situated in the heart of modern

  Beijing.

  The Ming Dynasty saw more construction and

  renovation: the Five Dragon Pavilions and the Nine-

  Dragon Screen on the north bank of the lake and many

  pavilions and galleries were erected during that

  period. From the White Dagoba, visitors can have an

  excellent view of the Five Dragon Pavilions standing

  on the opposite bank of the lake, with colourful

  ferry boats travelling back and forth between the

  shores. During the reign of Emperor Qianlong,

  construction lasted for 30 years. The project

  included many other pavilions, halls and terraces

  which made the park even more harmonious in design.

  The layout of the park is based on an ancient

  Chinese legend. According to the legend, there were

  supposed to be three islands to the east of Bohai

  Bay where the gods lived. One of them was called

  Penglai Island where a kind of herbal medicine grew,

  that was supposed to prolong life. The first emperor

  of the Qin Dynasty wanted to live fovrever. He sent

  people to the islands to look for the longevity

  medicine, but failed. Emperor Wudi of the Han

  Dynasty also wanted to live an eternal life. He

  ordered that a big pool be dug at the back of his

  palace, complete with three artificial hills to

  represent Penglai and the other islands. So these

  legendary hills were built in the eastern capital of

  Luoyang during the Sui Dynasty and also in the Tang

  Dynasty capital of Chang'an. Such a traditional

  style of gardening was followed during the

  succeeding dynasties and Beihai Park was built after

  this traditional style.

  (Source:

  http://www.ebeijing.gov.cn/Tour/ScenicSpots/)

Editor : Zhu Jia

Opening ceremony of Beijing Olympics