The Old Summer Palace, known in China as the Gardens of Perfect Brightness (pinyin: Yuan Ming Yuan), and originally called the Imperial Gardens, was a complex of palaces and gardens in Beijing.
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It is located 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) northwest of the walls of the Imperial City, built in the 18th and early 19th century, where the emperors of the Qing Dynasty resided and handled government affairs (the Forbidden City was used for formal ceremonies). Known for its extensive collection of garden and building architectures and other works of art (a popular name in China was the "Garden of Gardens"), the Imperial Gardens were destroyed by British and French troops in 1860 during the Second Opium War.
The Old Summer Palace is located just outside the west gate of Tsinghua University, north of Peking University, and east of the Summer Palace. The postal address is: 28 Qinghua West Road, Beijing, 100084. Today, the destruction of the Gardens of Perfect Brightness is still regarded as a symbol of foreign aggression and humiliation in China.
Overview of the Old Summer Palace
The Imperial Gardens were made up of three gardens: the Garden of Perfect Brightness proper, the Garden of Eternal Spring , and the Elegant Spring Garden ; together they covered an area of 3.5 square kilometres (860 acres). They were almost 5 times the size of the Forbidden City, and 8 times the size of the Vatican City. On the grounds stood hundreds of structures such as halls, pavilions, temples, galleries, gardens, lakes, etc. Several famous landscapes of southern China had been reproduced in the Imperial Gardens, hundreds of masterpieces of Chinese art and antiquities were stored in the halls, making the Imperial Gardens one of the largest collections in the world. Some unique copies of literary work and compilations were also stored inside the Imperial Gardens.
Address: Yuanmingyuan Lu, Haidian District, north of Peking University
Traffic: Bus No.s 331, 365, 375 (ext), 717, 801, 810, and 973;
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