Fragrant Hills Park also called Xiangshan Park, locates in the east part of Western Hills in northwest of Beijing City. Fragrant Hills Park covers 400 acres. It consists of a natural pine-cypress forest, maple trees and persimmon trees forests. Both its natural scenery and cultural relics are abundant. The highest peak is Xianglu Peak, which is 558 meters high. In 2001, it was selected as the National 4A Scenic Spot.
Origin of the name
The shape of the Fragrant Hills looks like a incense burner. When looking from a distance, the hill is often mist-enshrouded, and wreathed in fragrant smoke. People originally called it the Fragrant Incense Burner Hills, and later was simplified to Fragrant Hills.
History of Fragrant Hills Park
As a royal park, Fragrant Hills Park’s construction work started from 1186 during the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234). The park was expanded during the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368), and Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). In 1745, Emperor Qianlong ordered to add many new halls, pavilions and gardens in the park. He also gave the park a new name - Jingyi Garden, which means Garden of Tranquility and Pleasure.
Unfortunately, in 1860 and 1900, after the Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan Park) were looted and fired, many cultural relics in the park were damaged by foreign invaders. In 1949, the government began the continuous restoration work, and in 1956, it was opened as a public park. Now Fragrant Hills Park is regarded as one of the most famous parks in Beijing.
What to see
Fragrant Hills Park is famous for the scenery in autumn. When autumn arrives, red leaves cover the whole mountain. Every year, thousands of visitors take the cable cars up to the top of the mountain, where is the best place to view the spectacular autumn scenery. The annual Red Leaves Festival of Beijing takes place here from Mid-October to early November.
Fragrant Hills Park includes many historical sites, such as ancient Bi Yun Temple, which has architectural features of both the Ming and Qing Dynasties, Xiangshan Temple, which the foreign troops set fire to it in 1860, and the Memorial Hall of Dr. Sun Yat-sen. In addition, Shuangqing Villa is known not only for its natural scenery, but also for its historical status in China's revolutionary history. Shuangqing Villa was once the residence of Mao Zedong as well as an early site for the headquarters of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. The highest peak Xianglu Peak is famous for its stand three pavilions, each adorned with a beautiful name: Tayun, Ziyan, and Chongyang.