Cultural Relics & Tourism in Haidian District2016-08-26 15:30:55Share:
Located in Beijing’s northwest, Haidain District enjoys favorable geographical location, advantageous natural environment and beautiful scenery. Haidian won the favor of emperors, aristocrats, literati and was an ideal resort and amusement place in history. Therefore, it is home to a great number of various cultural relics. So far, there are 315 immoveable cultural relics in Haidian District, of which 18 are of national level, 23 municipal level and 109 district level. Besides, there are 152 registered cultural relics.
The imperial gardens (including Changchun Garden, Old Summer Place, Summer Palace, Jingming Garden on Yuquan Hill, and Jingyi Garden on Fragrant Hills) are the quintessence of the cultural relics in Haidian. The activities the Qing emperors like Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong held in these imperial gardens and the remains related with them are an epitome of the Qing history. The architecture within the imperial gardens covers a great variety of buildings such as palaces, halls, pavilions, temples, pagodas, bridges, arches, drama stages, and corridors, each of which is either grand and magnificent or delicate and exquisite. It can be said that these imperial gardens are a museum of ancient Chinese architecture and a treasure trove of Chinese history and culture where a large number of the most precious ancient classics, outstanding calligraphy and painting works, different kinds of handicraft articles are stored. The design and construction of the imperial gardens did not only show the glamour of the royal family but also adopted the essence of gardens in Southern Yangtze River area and creatively transferred the fruit of garden building in South China to the north, making these imperial gardens the most representative works of garden building in China. Today Summer Palace, Old Summer Palace, Jingming Garden are key cultural relics units under state protection, Jingyi Garden is a cultural relic unit under municipal protection, and Summer Palace has been included in World Heritage List by UNESCO.
Temples are historical and cultural relics of striking characteristics in Haidian. Within the imperial gardens are such famous Buddhist and Taotist temples like Sravasti and Zhengjue Temple in Old Summer Palace, the Four Great Regions and the Sea of Wisdom in Summer Palace, Dongyue Temple and Miaogao Temple on Yuquan Hill, and Biyun Temple and Zhao Temple on Fragrant Hills. There are also many royal temples like Wuta Temple, Wofo Temple and Gongde Temple built in the Ming Dynasty and Dazhong Temple, Wanshou Temple and Dajue Temple built in the Qing Dynasty outside the imperial gardens. These royal temples occupy an important position in imperial gardens. Taking the form of palatial buildings, the architecture of the temples is majestic and stately. Temporary imperial palaces are often attached to the royal temples outside imperial gardens. The layout of the royal temples advocates garden style and art style. The ideas behind temple building were clear: Interpreting the trinity of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism, conciliating the Mongolian and Tibetan believers, and promoting the unity, peace and harmony of a multinational country.
The temples in Haidian reflected people’s different faiths and the amicable coexistence of all the nationalities in history. In addition to Buddhist temples, there are also Confucian temples, Taoist temples, mosques, Christian churches and Catholic churches like Xiding Temple at Landianchang, Dongyue Temple at Shangzhuang, Madian Mosque, Haidian Christian Church, etc in Haidian. Temples reflecting popular Chinese beliefs like Guandi Temple which was built in almost every village including the Manchu neighborhoods are also everywhere.
The construction of imperial gardens made Haidian a place of great importance in politics, military affairs and culture. Ministers, members of the royal family, aristocrats, specialists, scholars, literati, great architects and masters once lived and worked here. Regarded as a land of good feng shui (geomantic omen), Haidian attracted many elites to build houses, gardens and tombs here. The sites of Xichun Garden, Shuchun Garden, and Chunhe Garden (Langrun Garden), Weixiu Garden and Chengze Garden built in the Qing Dynasty can be found on the campuses of Tsinghua University and Peking University. Many literary masters also once lived in Haidian. Cao Xueqin’s former residence in Zhengbaiqi village within today’s Beijing Botanical Garden used to be a barracks in the Qing Dynasty. In 1971, a poem was found on the wall of an old house which was believed to be the former residence of Cao Xueqin after investigation and research carried out by experts. Cao Xueqin’s Memorial Hall was founded and opened to the public here on April 22, 1984. The memorial hall has become a good place to study Cao Xueqin and his famous work Dream of the Read Chamber and a famous scenic spot popular with Redologists, researchers of Cao, readers and the public. Famous Qing poet Nalan Xingde and his father Nalan Mingzhu also built their residences and gardens in Beijing’s western suburb. Nalan Xingde lived in Lushuiting Villa at the foot of Yuquan Hill and Sangyu Villa in Shuangyushu village. Nalan Mingzhu and his second son lived in Ziyi Garden to the north of Liulangzhuang village. The Nalan family graves are at Zaojiatun in Shangzhuang.
With beautiful natural scenery, Haidian has been regarded as a treasure land with good Feng Shui. Therefore, ancient tombs can be found everywhere. Famous tombs include those of the Yuan Dynasty Prime Minister Yelü Chucai and his son Yelü Tao by Kunming Lake, and tombs of the Ming Dynasty Emperor Zhu Qiyu and his concubines and sons at the foothills of Jin Mountain. Among the Qing princes’ tombs in Haidian, Prince Li’s tomb is the largest while Prince Chun’s tomb (known as Qiwang Tomb) is the best preserved. Prince Chun was the seventh son of Emperor Daoguang and the father of Emperor Guangxu. He was buried at the site of ancient Fayun Temple at the foot of Miaogao Mountain after his death in 1891. The tomb covers a spacious area and has an imperial stele pavilion. There is a well preserved five-storey residence in the north of the graveyard which is a good choice for the site of a museum of the Qing princes.
The Lei family graveyard in Jushan village Sijiqing town is one of the most striking graveyards in Haidian. Seven generations of the Lei family builders served the Qing Imperial Household Department to take charge of the design and construction of imperial buildings from Emperor Kangxi’s reign to Emperor Xuantong’s reign. The Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, the Mountain Resort in Chengde, Western Qing Tombs, and Eastern Qing Tombs designed by the Lei family have been included in World Heritage List by UNESCO. The historical archives of the Lei family have been recorded in Memory of the World by UN and become non-material cultural heritage of the world.
Haidian also boasts its modern architecture and former residences of celebrities. The early buildings of Tsinghua University and the buildings by Weiming Lake of Peking University are among the most prestigious ones. The early buildings of Tsinghua University centers on Tsinghua Garden, the predecessor of which was Xichun Garden built during Emperor Kangxi’s reign. Tsinghua School was founded at the end of Emperor Guangxu’s reign, and later buildings like Gongziting and the Palace of the Ancient Moon were constructed. The auditorium, science building, gymnasium, and library were completed in 1925. The life science building, chemistry building, meteorological observatory, mechanical engineering building, electrical engineering building, dormitory buildings and school gate were added in 1933, making Tsinghua a university with beautiful scenery that combined ancient architecture with modern buildings harmoniously. Modern architecture in Peking University gathers around Weiming Lake which was the site of Shuchun Garden in the Qing Dynasty. As for the design of the university campus, Henry Killam Murphy stuck to traditional Chinese architectural styles while adapting it to modern uses and set an example of a combination of form and function. The Weiming Lake area of Peking University and early buildings of Tsinghua University are major cultural relics units under state protection.
Various cultural relics & tourism
Rich cultural relics in Haidian have laid a solid foundation and promised a bright future for tourism development in the area. The most famous tourist attractions like Summer Palace, Old Summer Palace, Fragrant Hills Park, and Beijing Botanical Park in Haidian are all developed from imperial gardens. They are attracting tourists from all over China and the world for profound historical and cultural connotations and superb art of landscape gardening.
Taking the advantage of its various ancient and modern buildings, Haidian has also formed a network of museums. Beijing Stone Carvings Art Museum in Wuta Temple, Beijing Art Museum in Wanshou Temple, the Ancient Bell Museum in Dazhong Temple, Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution, the China Millennium Monument, and Beijing Aviation Museum are some of the examples.
Haidian has also explored the tourism resources for patriotism education and made Sun Yat-sen MemorialHall in Biyun Temple, Martyr Li Dazhao’s Cemetery, Former Residence of Mao Zedong in Shuangqing Villa, and Tong Linge Memorial Hall places to educate the public.
Meanwhile,Haidian has also made use of its edge in the concentration of high education resources and scientific institutions and developed educational travel routes.
We have realized that the profound history and culture as well as the modern scientific and technological advantages of Haidian are the inexhaustible driving force and a guarantee of building Haidian into a high-end tourist attraction in the world.
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