Having introduced the most famous imperial park Summer Palace and the largest imperial park Chengde Mountain Resort, today I’d like to make a brief introduction to another park Yuanmingyuan, which plays an important role in Chinese history. In many people’s China Tours, Yuanmingyuan usually takes a seat.
People usually say that it’s hardly talked about the history of ancient Chinese gardens without mentioning Yuanmingyuan, known worldwide as “the garden of gardens.” Hugo, the famous French writer once said that, “Yuanmingyuan is the model of ideal and art.” Once as a large complex of imperial gardens, Yuanmingyuan covers an area of 347 hectares with a circumference of 10 kilometres. Construction of the complex began in the early 1700s and continued under succeeding Qing emperors. During the height of its popularity, this complex boasted 140 traditional palace halls, pavilion, kiosks, terraces, and waterside gazebos in addition to a number of European-style palace buildings. Around its man-made hills and lakes were 100 scenic spots composed of various rare rocks, flowers and plants from all over the land, and imitations of the best scenic sites of famous gardens in south China. It also had a large collection of precious cultural relics, art treasures and curios, rare books, painting, and calligraphy scroll.
But this splendid garden was burnt to ruins after being robbed of its treasure by the British-French allied forces in 1860. Today, all that remains are a few stone ruins. Now, most treasures in Yuanmingyuan are treasured in the British Museum and the Louvre. And a few are remained in China and some individuals.
Now, Yuanmingyuan will be a destination for people to recall the history and for adults to educate their children to cultivate the awareness to protect and treasure the common treasure around the world. If you are interested in Chinese garden history or you are taking your child to have China holidays, you could have a visit to Yuanmingyuan.
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