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Zhongshan Park in Beijing

Why is Zhongshan Park special­

 

Zhongshan Park is located southwest of the Forbidden City and west of Tian’anmen Square, covering an area of 230,000 square meters. This place used to be an imperial temple called Sheji Altar, which means ‘Altar to the god of the Land and Grain’ of Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. In 1914, this former imperial garden became a public park known as the Central Park. Later, it was renamed Zhongshan Park in 1928, in memory of Sun Yat-Sen, China's first revolutionary political leader, as the park is known as today.

 

Nowadays, Zhongshan Park is a popular place for locals to do morning exercises. It likes a peaceful oasis in central Beijing, in which you could either have a pleasant stroll or find a quiet corner to sit down and relax.

 

Zhongshan Park Highlights

 

Sheji Altar (Altar to the God of the Land and Grain)

 

The altar was built in 1420 in the Ming Dynasty. In Chinese, ‘Sheji’ represents the gods of the land and the grain. In the Ming and Qing Dynasties, emperors would hold ceremony to offer sacrifices to the gods of the land and the grain in the second and the eighth lunar months every year.

 

The body of the altar is three layers of square terraces made from white marble with earth of five colors covering the top. The five colors are arranged in five directions, namely, yellow in the middle, green in the east, red in the south, white in the west and black in the north, to connote the idea of “all the land under the sun belongs to the emperor”. The square stele in the center of the earth is named “Shezhu Stone” or “Jiangshan Stone”, which carry the meaning of “eternity of the throne”.

 

Etiquette Rehearsal Pavilion

 

In the Qing Dynasty, the pavilion was inside the Yamen of Honglu Temple. Later, it was moved to the Ministry of Rites and became a place where officials practiced and rehearsed the etiquette needed when received by the emperor. In 1915, the pavilion was moved to the present site.

 

Intertwining Cypress and Locust Tree

 

The locust tree grows out of a crack in the trunk of the cypress and the two trees become one; hence the name “intertwining cypress and locust tree”. The naturally formed plants form an interesting scenery in the garden.  

 

Green Cloud Rock

 

The rock is regarded a twin with the Qingzhixiu Rock in the Summer Palace. Excavated from Fangshan Mountain in Beijing, it is free and natural and full of power and grandeur by appearance, just like a green piece of cloud. It was the collection of Mi Wanzhong, Chamberlain for the Imperial Study of the Ming Dynasty, and was moved to Shangzhai Room in Yuanmingyuan by Emperor Qianlong. In 1925 the rock was moved to Zhongshan Park and was at the present site since 1971. The name of the rock was inscribed by Emperor Qianlong and originally there were eight poems written by the emperor on it, which had been erased already.

 

Travel Tips:

 

Opening hours: Daily

Apr-May:  6:00 – 20:00

Jun-Aug:  6:00 – 21:00

Sep-Oct:  6:00 – 20:00

Nov to Next Mar:  6:30 – 19:00

 

Entrance tickets: CNY 3 per person

 

Location: West of Tiananmen Gate, Dongcheng District, Beijing

 

How to get there by subway: take line 1 and get off at Tian’anmen West Station

 

Tips: in some occasions, the ticket becomes CNY 10 when the park holds flower festivals in the spring.

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