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Yuanmingyuan Park

yuanmingyuan-park Yuanmingyuan (Garden of perfect splendor) is renowned throughout the world for its fabled charms and association with Chinese modern history. Extolled as the "Garden of Gardens" and the "Versailles of the East" during its heyday.

yuanmingyuan-park02The Yuanmingyuan Park was an imperial summer resort painstakingly built and repeatedly expanded under the personal supervision of five emperors of the Qing Dynasty. Located in the northern part of Haidian District in Beijing, Yuanmingyuan is composed of three comparatively independent but interconnected gardens: Yuanmingyuan, Changchunyuan (Garden of Eternal Spring), and Qichunyuan (Garden of Blossoming Spring). Covering an area of about 350 hectares, Yuanmingyuan was a vast landscaped garden at once grand in scale and enchanting in scenery. Its green hills and exquisite architecture were laid out with picturesque appeal, and decorated with thriving trees and beautiful flowers. As to close sights, the rolling hills and maze of streams and lakes divided the whole garden into more than 100 scenes, their captivating beauty enhanced by a host of pavilions, corridors, islands, and bridges. About 40 percent of the garden was covered by rivers and lakes, connected into an integral system by winding streams and dotted with more than 250 hills and rock formations. The water's constant murmur rendered life and soul to the hills and rocks. And together they transformed the entire complex into a landscaping and horticultural miracle which stood comparison with the beauty of the natural scenery south of the Yangtze River.

Yuanmingyuan was not only famed for its beauty. It was also an imperial museum with a vast collection of cultural treasures. The French writer Victor Hugo once remarked, "With all its treasures, Notre Dame in Paris is no match for Yuanmingyuan, that enormous and magnificent museum in the East." Furniture made of red sandalwood decorated the numerous halls in which countless rare cultural relics were on display. As one of the four most famous imperial libraries, the Wenyuan Hall (Hall of Literary Profundity) in the garden originally housed such precious ancient books as The Complete Library of Four Branches of Books, Gems of the Complete Library of Four Branches of Books, and The Completed Collection of Graphs and Writings of Ancient and Modern Times.