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Two Recommended Itineraries to Visit the Fragrant Hills Park

2016-03-28 10:25:29Share:

  Situated in the east part of western hills, 28 kilometers (17 miles) northwest of the city, it is very large, made up of hills and forest covering 160 hectares (395.4 acres). Both its natural sceneries and cultural relics are abundant. Xianglu Peak (Incense Burner Peak), 557 meters (1827.4 feet) high, is its highest peak.


fragrant hills park


  It was first built in 1186 in the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234) and later extended to a large scale in the Yuan and Ming dynasties. In 1745, Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799) ordered the addition of many new halls, pavilions and gardens and gave it a new name, Jingyi Garden (Garden of Tranquility and Pleasure). Unfortunately, in 1860 and 1900 after the Summer Palace and the Yuanming Yuan (the Old Summer Palace) were set on fire, lots of relics in the Fragrant Hills were damaged by foreign troops. Since 1949, with a half-century's restoration and development by Chinese government, it has been recognized as one of the ten most famous parks in Beijing.


  The park offers two main routes to follow.


  The first one pass by the north area, where is possible to admire the immense beauty of the Yanjing Lake, the bridge, Study of reading Heart and the Bright Temple. The latter is a large Tibetan style complex built in 1780. The structure represents the residence of the sixth Panchen Lama during his visit to Emperor Qianlong. The park context also includes the Fragrant Hill Hotel, designed by I. M. Pei, famous for its unique design, which represents one of the most esclusive locations for a Beijing Hotels. The tour and complete view of the park is also available thanks to Beijing tours.


  Visitors may take two main routes to explore it. The first one is to go along the north route, where visitors will see Spectacles Lake (Yanjing Lake), Study of Reading Heart (Jianxin Zhai), Bright Temple (Zhao Miao), etc. Spectacles Lake is a lake divided half by a bridge. Study of Reading Heart was built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and was noted as the park inside it. Bright Temple is a large Tibetan style lamasery complex built in 1780 as the residence for the sixth Panchen Lama during his visits to Emperor Qianlong. Buildings in the complex have partially been burned down. Among the surviving treasures are a majestic glazed-tiled archway in front of the complex, a Tibetan style terrace and a glazed-tiled pagoda. Bells hung on the eaves of the pagoda chime in breeze.



  Another route leads to the south area of it. Main attractions along the route include Tranquility Green Lake (Jingcui Lake), Shuangqing Villa, Fragrant Temple, Incense Burner Peak, etc. This route is a little hard for the highest peak, Incense Burner Peak. However it is worthwhile to try. One of the 'must see' points of interest is the Shuangqing Villa, which is attractive not for its natural beauty but more for its place in Chinese history - it was once the residence of Chairman Mao Zedong as well as an early sight for the headquarters of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.


  There are two convenient roads for enjoying the park. Along the northern road, are Glasses Lake, Cascade Cave, Fine-Day and Jian Xin Pavilions, Zhao Temple, Glazed Pagoda and the Geyun Bell. Along the middle road are Tingxue, Purple Mist, and Wangfeng Pavilions, Zhisong Garden, Lotus Lawn, Yuhua Villa, Snow-On-the-West Mountain, Incense-Burner Peak, Chongyang Garret, etc. Along the southern road there are Green Lake, Dai Shui Ping Shan, Green Pavilion, Gem Rock, Complacency Moat, the Red Leaves Scenery, Sermon Pine, relics of Fragrant Hills Temple, Toad Peak, Happiness Garden, Shuangqing Villa, White-Pine Pavilion, Sen Yu Hu and Plum Stone, etc. Visitors can take an 18-minute cable car ride to the top of Incense Burner Peak while leisurely enjoying the beautiful scenery below and get an excellent view of Beijing.

The Imperial Gardens