Yuanmingyuan, Beijing

Yuanmingyuan is located just a couple of stations away from the Yiheyuan/ Summer Palace….Entry to this place cost about RMB25 per person…

The Garden of Perfect Brightness—Yuanmingyuan (圓明園)—is the name of one of China’s most iconic monuments and tourist destinations.

The Yuanmingyuan was actually built as a scenic retreat for the emperors who wished to escape the heat and formal obligations of the Forbidden City in Beijing. However, the emperors began to spend more time there, and in effect it somehow became the principal imperial residence and place of work for most of the year—not merely in the summer—until it was destroyed in 1860.

The Yuanmingyuan was first built in the year of 1709 during Emperor Kangxi ‘s reign (Qing Dynasty1644-1911).

Over the next 150 years during the Qing Dynasty, it was was continuously expanded until it was a huge Chinese emperors’ private pleasure garden, covering an area of 3.5 square kilometer, about five times bigger than the Forbidden City..

  This gorgeous garden is divided into three gardens known as the Yuanmingyuan, Wanchunyuan (the Garden of Blossoming Spring) and Changchunyuan (the Garden of Eternal Spring).

You will be amazed by all the instagram worthy and scenic spots all around in the garden made up of pavilions, temples, lawns, lakes and bridges. It is definitely a feast for the eyes for photographers, wannabe photographers, selfie enthusiast and people who appreciate beautiful places…. No matter where you look, the scenery is simply just breathtaking…

To get to the ruins of Yuanmingyuan, it is a very long walk from the entrance… So be well prepared with a bottle of water and comfortable pair of walking shoes…. 

Yuanmingyuan Park once upon a time a truly magnificent imperial palace with European designs, before it was sacked and destroyed by British troops.

There are just so many magnificent Greek like columns etc… that really reminds me of Europe…..If I am not mistaken, it was also called the ‘garden of gardens’ or the ‘Versailles of the East’ in Europe during that era, and having been to the Gardens of Versailles… I can see why it is named so….though I think the gardens here is larger then Versailles…

You can just see glimpses of how glorious the Yuanmingyuan Park used to be, since all there are left are just ruins, some columns and broken pieces of the building left….

The Yuanmingyuan Park is now some sort of archeological park with ruins all around, possibly waiting for someone to piece it all together. I really wish someone would try to reconstruct this place ….

 This place is so beautiful even in ruins and somehow it just reminds me of parts of Angkor Wat, Borobudor and the other lovely ancient sites that have been restored but still partly left in ruins…

Tired after all those walking? You will be relieved to know that there is a tram/ buggy ride outside the ruins area and with RMB5, you can get a ride 3/4 of the way back to the exit/entrance area….

Here are some computer generated ideas of how Yuan Ming Yuan would have looked like….Isn’t it just so gorgeous..

(picture taken from Google and is not mine… just used for illustration purposes...)

How to get there…….

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).

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