The Old Summer Palace, which is known in China as the Gardens of Perfect Brightness, is also named as "Garden of Gardens" for its extensive collection of garden and building architectures and other works of art. The Garden was firstly constructed in the year of 1709 during the region of the Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). And during the following 150 years of the Qing Dynasty, this garden was expanded to a large scale emperors’ private garden, covering a total area of 350 hectares. However, this unique imperial garden was destroyed by the British and French troops in 1860 during the Second Opium war, and nowadays what we can see are the ruins of some structures.
The Old Summer Palace consist of three parts, they are Yuanmingyuan, Wanchunyuan (the Garden of Blossoming Spring) and Changchunyuan (the Garden of Eternal Spring) with hundreds of scenic spots, which are made up of exquisitely constructed halls, pavilions, chambers, kiosks, earth and rock hills, rivers and ponds etc. it was regarded as the essence of Chinese ancient landscape gardening. On the other hand, Old Summer Palace is also called the 'Versailles of the East' for some western architecture, such as the Grand Waterworks, the Throne for viewing the Waterworks and the Labyrinth. Besides, Old Summer Palace was also an imperial museum that collected a large number of books, treasure and cultural artifacts.
However, most of them were plundered by the Anglo-French Allied Forces in 1860 when this garden was burnt down. Now, most of thses historical curiosities are displayed in the other countries' museums, such as British Museum; Bibliotheque Nationale de France; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, USA; Oslo Museum of Applied Art and so on.
While wandering among the ruins in this garden, there is a chance to know the heyday of this garden in the exhibition hall with a minimal model of this garden.
Entrance Fee: CNY 10
Exhibition Hall of Yuanmingyuan in Heyday: CNY 10
Sites of European Palaces: CNY 15
April, September and October: 07:00-18:30
January, February, March, November and December: 07:00-17:30
Subway Line 4: get off at Yuanmingyuan(圆明园) Station and get out of the station from Exit B
1.Take bus 365, 432, 562, 656, 664, 681, 717, 814, 957(Fast 2), 963, 982, Special 4, Yuntong 105 or Yuntong 205 and get off at Yuanmingyuan Dongmen (East Gate) Station.
2.Take bus 432, 562, 664, 681, 814, 957(Fast 2), 982, Special 4, Yuntong 105 or Yuntong 205 and get off at Yuanmingyuan Dong Lu Station.
3. Take bus 319, 320, 331, 432, 438, 498, 628, 664, 690, 696, 697, 801, 826 or 特6 and get off at Yuanmingyuan Nanmen (South Gate).