"Tuancheng: The Round City - Part 2" Top 5 Page for this destination Beihai Park Tip by mke1963
Beihai Park, Beijing: 100 reviews and 180 photos
The ravages of time and subsequent emperors' desires changed the landscape of this little 'city' but not enormously. in 1669, an earthquake damaged the Chenguangdian, but it was rebuilt in identical form.
In 1746, Qianlong, who had a special affinity with this little place for some reason, landscaped the gardens and added a number of pavilions.
Perhaps the biggest change was when Ci Xi converted the Chengguangdian into an altar for the huge jade statue of Buddha brought back from Myanmar by the monk Ming Kuan.
Empress Dowager Ci Xi used to visit the Round City regularly, but in a rather curious manner. She would get the palace eunuchs and maids to set up a country market so that she could take part in cameos roles of real-life. (She did the same thing at the Summer Palace as well).
In 1900 the invading British and French forces damaged the giant Buddha, and many other objects were looted.
Some 50 or so years later, Zhou Enlai intervened to save the Round City from destruction when the road outside, Jingshan Qianjie, was being widened.
Today the Tuancheng is truly serene place, with some of the most graceful trees in the world sitting atop the terrace. The cypress was given the title "The Marquis of Shade" by Emperor Qianlong in gratitude for the shade it provided him over the years. Nearby, the stunningly beautiful lace-ark pine was named "The General" for unknown reasons. The Chengguangdian remains one of my favourite buildings in China, even though some of the styling is probably from the 1900s rather than the Ming period.
Address: Jingshan Qianjie
Directions: At south end of Beihai Park, just west of the north end of the Forbidden City.
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