Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan), Beijing

#7 of 163 in Parks in Beijing
Park · Hidden Gem · Ruin
Favorite summer retreat for Qing emperors until its systematic destruction by Anglo-French troops in 1860, Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan) serves as a reminder of the ruthlessness of European gunboat diplomacy. Originally built in the 12th century, this partially restored palace spans 350 hectares (864 acres), expanded in the 18th and early 19th centuries with the help of two Italian Jesuits. Take a boat ride to explore lotus ponds, or stroll along the Jiuzhou lakefront to ponder intricately carved stone ruins and hundreds of scenic spots. Ascend the throne for observing waterworks and the maze of this "Versailles of the East," looted and thoroughly destroyed by the West. The first ever Pekinese dog in the UK, kidnapped by Lord Elgin from this spot as a gift to Queen Victoria, started a real vogue among British elites of the time. Plan to visit Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan) during your Beijing vacation using our convenient Beijing road trip site.
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Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan) reviews

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908 reviews
  • If you enjoy walks and pretty gardens, then this is a good place to visit. The grounds are huge and it will take at least 3 hours to do it justice. We came in winter and there were very few visitors....  more »
  • This is a beautiful park and a stunning location. We really enjoyed walking round just as Winter begins to take hold. The park is full of lakes and beautiful bridges and from some points you can see.....  more »

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