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Old Summer Palace
 Old Summer Palace Pictures
Also known as the Ruins of the Yuanmingyuan (the Garden of Perfection and Light), it is located northwest of Beijing and to the east of the (present-day) Summer Palace. The Garden was first constructed in the year of 1709 during the reign of the Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Over the next 150 years of the Qing Dynasty, this Garden was expanded to be a large-scale Chinese emperors' private pleasure garden, covering a total area of 350 hectares (over 864 acres).

Generally speaking, it consists of three parts - Yuanmingyuan, Wanchunyuan (the Garden of Blossoming Spring) and Changchunyuan (the Garden of Eternal Spring). These three gardens are often referred to as one common name: Yuanmingyuan. Hundreds of scenic spots in the Garden are made up of exquisitely constructed halls, pavilions, chambers, kiosks, earth and rock hills, rivers and ponds, and exotic flowers and grasses from different parts of the country. Indeed, it embodies the essence of Chinese ancient landscape gardening.

The scatted artifact in the palaceTo be distinct from other traditional Chinese Gardens, the garden construction and horticulture of it is a harmonious blend of typical Chinese scenery and western architecture. The more famous scenic spots include, for example, the Grand Waterworks, the Throne for viewing the Waterworks and the Labyrinth. No wonder it was also called the 'garden of gardens' or the 'Versailles of the East' in Europe during that era. Furthermore, it was also an imperial museum that collected a large number of books, treasures and cultural artifacts. However, a large number of these collections were plundered by the Anglo-French Allied Forces in 1860, at the same time as the Garden was burnt down. Now, most of these historical curiosities are displayed in the other countries' museums, including the British Museum; Bibliotheque Nationale de France; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, USA; Oslo Museum of Applied Art and so on.

The vast majority of the remaining scenic spots were destroyed in the 1980's, but under the due protection of the ruins, a park has been established on the ruin site. So visitors can imagine the former grandeur of it from the crumbling walls and ruins. What's more, there is also an opportunity for visitors to view the complete picture of it in its 'heyday' in the exhibition hall. The reconstruction of some of the original structures and scenic spots provides people with a lovely place to relax.

Admission Fee: Entrance Fee: CNY 10
Sites of European Palaces: CNY 15
Exhibition Hall of Yuanmingyuan in Heyday: CNY 10

Note: Children below 1.2 meters are admitted at half-price.
Opening Hours: 07:00-19:00 (May-August)
07:00-18:30 (April, September and October)
07:00-17:30 (January, February, March, November and December)
Recommended Time for a Visit: about 2 hours
Subway: Subway Line 4: get off at Yuanmingyuan Station and get out of the station from Exit B (northeast exit).
Bus Route: 1. Take bus 614, 562, 664, 681, 982, Yuntong 205, 656, Te4, 717, Yuntong 105, 365, 432 and get off at Yuanmingyuan Dongmen (East Gate) Station.
2. Take bus 365, 562, 664, 681, 982, Yuntong 205, Te4, Yuntong 105, 432, 614 and get off at Yuanmingyuan Dong Lu Station.
3. Take bus 664, 438, 498, 331, 696, Te 6, 601, 697, 320, 690, 628, 432, 626, 319 and get off at Yuanmingyuan Nanmen (South Gate).
 Beijing Bus / Subway Search

 Recommended Packages: 
One Day Visit: Panda House - Summer Palace - Old Summer Palace - Peking University - Nationalities Park
Day Trip to Old Summer Palace: one day suggestion tour to Summer Palace and Old Summer Palace
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