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Old Summer Palace (Ruins of Yuanmingyuan)

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.

Each year, a Lotus Fetival is held in this garden from June to August. Changchun Garden is the best place to appreciate lotus flowers.

 By Bus:
1. Take bus 365, 429, 432, 562, 614, 664, 681, 699, 717, 982, Te 4, Yuntong 105, Yuntong 124, and get off at Yuanmingyuan Dongmen (East Gate) Station.
2. Take bus 365, 562, 664, 681, 982,  Te4, Yuntong 105, 432, 614 and get off at Yuanmingyuan Dong Lu Station.
3. Take bus 331, 432, 438, 498, 508, 579, 594, 601, 664, 696, 697, Te 18, Te 19, Te 6, Yuntong 124  and get off at Yuanmingyuan Nanmen (South Gate).

 By Subway:
Subway Line 4: get off at Yuanmingyuan Station and get out of the station from Exit B (northeast exit).
 Beijing Bus / Subway Search
Admission Fee: Entrance Fee: CNY 10
Sites of European Palaces: CNY 15
Exhibition Hall of Yuanmingyuan in Heyday: CNY 10

Note: Children below 3.9 feet (1.2 meters) are admitted at half-price.
Opening Hours: 07:00-19:00 (May-August)
07:00-18:00 (April, September and October)
07:00-17:30 (January, February, March, November and December)
Recommended Time for a Visit: about 2 hours

 A sightseeing bus loop line in the west garden area has been opened since June 29, 2016. It starts from the Junction of Three Gardens every five minutes and stops at 13 scenic spots, including Dongtianshenchu, Qinzhengqinxian, Zhengdaguangming, etc. The whole bus journey takes around 40 minutes. Each bus is provided with a guide and operates from 09:00 to 16:30. Visitors can hop on the bus at any stop and get a bus ticket from the guide. Each tourist need to pay CNY 15 for taking the bus.

 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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