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Beihai Park

Introducing Beihai Park
Located in the center of Beijing, Beihai Park covers an area of 690,000 square meters, including 390,000 square meters for water. It used to be a royal place for sightseeing, government affairs handling and sacrifice by emperors and the imperial families of the Liao, Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. It is the earliest and best preserved imperial garden in the world.

Beihai Park Fast Facts
• Chinese Name: Beihai Gongyuan 北海公园
• Best Time to Visit: All year around
• Recommended Visiting Hours: About 2 to 3 hours
• Things to Do: Photography, Architecture, Boating
• Opening Hours: 06:30-21:00 from Apr to Oct; 06:30-20:00 from Nov to Mar
• Entrance Fee: ¥10/person from Apr to Oct; ¥5/person from Nov to Mar
• Address: No.1 Wenjin Street, Xicheng District, Beijing

What to expect at Beihai Park

Beihai literally means the "Northern Sea." There are also corresponding "Central" and "Southern Seas" — both are located in an area called Zhongnanhai. This region is also quite famous because it houses China's paramount leaders. Beihai’s ancient gardens, over 1,000 years old, reflect not only a classic combination of the grandiosity of Chinese northern gardens and the refinement of the southern gardens of China, but also perfectly integrate magnificent imperial palaces with solemn religious construction.

White Dagoba
On top of the Jade Flowery Islet, the White Dagoba was built in 1651 on the former site of the Palace in the Moon where Kublai Khan received Marco Polo. At the suggestion of a famous Tibetan lama, Emperor Shunzhi, the first emperor of the Qing Dynasty agreed to build such a Tibetan Dagoba to show his belief in Buddhism and his desire for the unification among various Chinese ethnic groups. The White Dagoba was destroyed in an earthquake and reconstructed twice. Now, resting on a huge stone base, it stands 35.9 meters (about 118 feet) high and is capped by two bronze umbrella-like canopies, with 14 bronze bells hanging around them. Inside, the Dagoba holds the Buddhist Scriptures, the monk's mantle and alms bowl and two pieces of Sarira. Since the White Dagoba is the highest point in it, it served as a vantage point with a beautiful view of the whole scenic spot. In front of the White Dagoba is the White Dagoba Temple. There are several other buildings and halls you could visit if you have enough time. These include Zhengjue Hall, the Bell and Drum Towers, the Stone Tablets of 'Qiongdao Chunyin' (means the beautiful scenery of the Jade Flowery Islet in spring; inscribed by Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty) etc, all scattered on the slope of the Qionghua Islet.

Circular City
Right at the southwestern corner of the park is the Circular City. The city wall stands about 4.6 meters (about 15 feet) high and has a circumference of 276 meters (about 906 feet). Among the various places to visit in the Circular City including halls, towers and pavilions, the most important construction is the Chengguang Hall which holds the extremely precious white jade statue of Buddha introduced from Burma at the end of the Qing Dynasty. In front of the hall is a grand urn made of variegated dark jade. With a diameter of 1.5 meters (about 4.9 feet), a circumference of 5 meters (about 16.4 feet), a height of 0.7 meters (about 2.3 feet) and a weighing 3.5 tons, the urn used to be the vessel of Kublai Khan for storing wine.

While visiting these famous and interesting places in it, you could have a meal and rest at Fangshan Restaurant located at the northern shore of the lake. This restaurant was started in 1925 by a cook who formerly worked in the Qing court, so the food there is said to be of delicious imperial flavor.

Besides these places of interest, there are plenty of exhibitions to see. These include the yearly exhibition of water lilies and other water plants in the Botanical Garden, the exhibition of peonies, and varied picture shows, making it not only the center of history and culture in Beijing, but also the center of ecological and natural beauty.

How to get to Beihai Park

By Bus
• Take bus No. 13, 42, 107, 111, 118, 612, 701 to Beihai Beimen (North Gate of Beihai Park) Station.
• Take bus No. 5, 101, 103, 109, 124, 128, 619 or Tourist Line 1 & 2 to Beihai Station.

By Metro
• Take Metrol Line 6 and get off at Beihaibei Station (Exit B) and walk to the north gate of the park.

Additional travel advice on Beihai Park
• The ticket office offers wheelchair rental service.
• Please protect the wild life and the domesticated animals in the park.
• Smoking is forbidden in the park.

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