The Yuanmingyuan Park (Yuan Ming Yuan) is located in the northeast part of Beijing. It is a masterpiece of royal gardens in China and is worldly known as a famous scenic spot.
The construction of the park buildings started in the 18th year of Emperor Kangxi in Qing Dynasty (1709A.D.), went through six emperors and finally finished building of Yuanmingyuan Park, Chang Chun Garden, and Wan Chun Garden, after more than 150 years. These three gardens are often referred to as a joint name: The Yuanmingyuan Park.
The word "Yuanming" in Chinese means round and bright. The implication of the word here is: "roundness is moderate while brightness will cover the whole nation". It is the doctrine of Confucianism, and indicates that Emperor Kangxi was a brilliant leader who will bring happy life to people.
The Yuanmingyuan Park covers a total area of 350 acres and the architecture area of 160, 000 square meters, 10,000 square meters larger than the Forbidden City. Inside the Yuanmingyuan Park, bridges are everywhere, about 100 bridges. Scenic spots are all over, with more than 100 beautiful sights. Buildings with carved beams and painted rafters, pavilions, studios are in various shapes and in different sizes, which made out of splendid materials.
The boundary of all three gardens are about 10 kilometers. The total length of walls of Yuanmingyuan is about 20, 000 square meters, which is honored as the most splendid garden among all gardens of China.
There are about 200 manmade mountains in the park with professionally designed cliffs, stones, and deep valleys by horticulturists. There are also large sections of ponds, the Grand Tai Lake, the winding streams and rivers. Some ponds are connected and some are independent. The water area occupies half area of the Yuanmingyuan Park.
Multifarious architects are scattered in the special designed mountains and lakes, as beautiful as paintings. Many spots of the Yuanmingyuan Park imitate famous mountains and lakes or well-known gardens in South China. Curios and art works are numerous, which is like an art museum with all the gardens and collections in the world.
Since it was built, Emperor Qianlong praised it as "the place where God of heaven lives", and the sights which ancient emperors had toured could not be better than the Yuanmingyuann Park. In the history of Chinese horticulture and world gardening, the Yuanmingyuan Park is a bright and dazzling pearl, it is a garden without a match in the world.
"If immortals were human beings, then the Yuanmingyuan Park would be a heaven garden" Said an English clergyman when accompanying the united British and French army. Astonished by splendid scenery and he sang high praise for the Yuanmingyuan Park. It was not long after the clergyman said so, did the united British and French army burnt this imperial garden, as beautiful as the garden in heaven, for three days and nights, to complete ruins.
This world class masterpiece garden, The Yuanmingyuan Park was then turned from a beauty into a deserted place full of wild grasses. Today, if you walk and stand in the ruins of the Yuanmingyuan Park, you will be deep in sorrow, mourning her great, brilliant history.
It is because there is an unredeemed and cruel history about the Yuanmingyuan Park, today, more and more tourists from all over the world come here to pay a visit. No matter what kind of feeling you have visiting the Yuanmingyuan Park, pondering the past, cherishing the memory in mind, or with curiosity, it is quite special and different from visiting other scenery.