china edition


Parks and Gardens

Beihai park
Ditan Park
Fragrant Hills Park
Grand View Garden
Jingshan Park
Longtan Park
Milu Park
Old Summer Palace
Purple Bamboo Park
Ritan Park
Taoranting Park
Yunmeng Mountain Forest Park
Zhongshan Park

Among the parks and gardens in Beijing are also Imperial Gardens. The term 'imperial garden' generally refers to those in which emperors lived and entertained themselves. Apart from the general features of classical Chinese gardens, imperial gardens are also marked by the following 5 salient features:

  1. The guideline for the design of an imperial garden gives expression to feudal autocracy and reflects the idea that the Son of Heaven is the richest man under heaven.
  2. There is a liberal choice of locations, and the construction of an imperial, garden is backed by abundant resources, so that not only mountains and lakes in their original forms could be incorporated, but lakes could be dug, and mountains constructed, as well, in imitation of natural scenes. All sorts of buildings could be constructed, too.
  3. The general layout of an imperial garden was magnificent, the buildings are beautiful or imposing and perform diverse functions, so that living in his imperial garden the emperor could administer state affairs, take up his lodging, receive tributes, feast his guests, watch theatrical performances, singing and dancing, wushu contests, pay homage to the Buddha, collect books and treasures, observe the crops, and go fishing and hunting.
  4. Materials for the construction of gardens were wide ranging, and vast numbers of artisans could be conscripted for this purpose, so that collective wisdom was pooled and the garden, thus constructed was richly varied in form.
  5. Most imperial gardens are situated in the north, and thus susceptive to the northern climatic in so far as architectural tradition, coloration and the planting of vegetation are concerned. Despite keen efforts made to imitate famous gardens in the lower Yangtze valley, these gardens still retain a style unique to the north.

Garden culture and horticulture figure prominently in Beijing's tourist attractions. Beijing's imperial gardens are outstanding examples of classical Chinese garden culture; they are also part of the precious world cultural heritage.