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North Shore Beihai Park
North Shore Beihai Park is arguably the more beautiful and interesting of the two sides. Here you'll find the beautiful, decorative Nine-Dragon Wall, Five Dragon Pavilion, and many more temples, lake views, etc. From here you can get a very nice view of Jingshan across the lake. It's a good idea to spend two or more hours exploring this area. You can also see where the Huohai empties into Beihai.
- Historical Travel
Tuancheng: The Round City - Part 1
Tacked on to the southern end of Beihai Park is a curious little place, missed by many as they rush in to the park and across the bridge to the island.
To the left of the entrance is the Round City, once an island, now solidly ashore, hugging the hard shoulder of the roadway outside. The cars, buses and trolley-buses and trucks rumble past one of Beijing's oldest sites, but inside the 5 metre high walls is a small compound apart from the rush of modern-day Beijing.
In true Beijing style, the history of the place is rich and complicated. While building the Daning Palace, between 1163 and 1179, the Jin emperor Shi Zong enlarged and excavated the lake to create the Qiongdao Island (on which the White Dagoba sits). Actually, strctly speaking he just enlarged an existing island - Yaoxudao.
It seems that the emperor hung up a picture of the Gengyue Garden, the imperial garden of the Song dynasty in Kaifeng, saying "This is what I want the place to look like!".
The Guanghan Palace (Palace of the Moon) was a key building in the Daning Palace.
When Kublai Khan captured the city of Zhingdu (as Beijing was then known, legend has it that Kublai Khan shot an arrow to the east of the hall and where it landed was chosen as the site for his new palace.
Later Kublai Khan a big hall here - Yitiandian - The Hall for Celestial Ceremonies and put up the huge retaining wall.
In those days, the Round City was an island. Kublai Khan's palace was across a bridge to the east and the palaces of the Crown Princes and the Empress Dowager across a drawbridge to the West. Tuancheng was linked to Qiongdao by a huge stone bridge.
In 1417, Ming emperor Cheng Zu repaired the delapidated Yitiandian and renamed it Chengguangdian - The Hall for Inviting the Light.
It was at that time that the lake immediately to the east was filled in again, so the Round City was no longer an island.
69-hectare Bei Hai Park is mostly lake water!
I was brought to this beautiful Imperial garden called Bei hai Park in Beijing from the 1oth century which contains palaces, temples and a wonderful lake. The park covers 69 hectares and the lake covers more than half of that area and maybe that is why it is called Beihai which literally means "Northern Sea".
Chinese legend has it that Gods in three magic mountains called 'Penglai', 'Yingzhou' and 'Fangzhang' located to the east of Bohai Bay (to had a kind of herbal medicine which would help humans gain immortality. And so emperors sent people to these mountains to look for those conctions…did they ever find it?
There was a lot of people in the park when I visited and it was nice to people-watch. This was also walking distance from my hotel, so I ventured out one and just sat by the lake. I also remember walking through passageway flanked by trees that whose leave were rattling so crisply with the wind…beautiful place, Bei Hai!
- Arts and Culture
- Castles and Palaces
Beihai Park is a very nice city park on the Beihai (North Sea) in Beijing. For 20 Y, you can stroll around the park and up to through a series of Buddhist temples. You can also take a ferry across the lake to the north shore, where there are even more attractions including the Five Dragon Pavilion and Nine Dragon Wall. You can also meet many interesting people in the park. Knowing Mandarin helps.
- Arts and Culture
Beihai Park (North Lake Park) is the biggest of Beijing's parks and located in the heart of the city. Its White Dagoba can be seen from far. This Dagoba has been build during 17th century, when the 5th Dalai Lama visited Beijing. Beihai Park also features a big lake, some flowers and old trees. Pavillons give you a place to rest. There is also a Nine Dragon Wall and some temples. If you want to see an almost unknown side of the park you should walk along the Eastern side of the lake. Here you find small hills and corridors, where the local people gather to sing Beijing- Opera or play their instruments. Here you see Tai Ji groups and old people dancing the Tango.
In the North the landscape of parks and lakes is continued by Houhai-Lake, where you'll find a lot of old living quarters (Hutongs) and some lakeside restaurants.
- Arts and Culture
This park in the center of Beijing has an area of more than 70 hectares with a water surface of 39 hectares. To its north is Shishahai Lake and to its east is Jingshan Park. The Palace Museum is to its southeast, a short distance.
The imperial court of the Liao Dynasty built a temperory palace on the site of present Beihai Park in the 10th century. During the following Jin Dynasty a lake was dug. The excavated earth was piled to make a hill. Around the lake and on the hill palatial halls, corridors and pavilions were erected. The imperial court of the Yuan Dynasty which came after the Jin expanded Jionghua Islet in the lake and made it the center of its capital Dadu City.
During the Ming Dynasty five pavilions linked with zigzag bridges were built in the northwestern part of the lake. During the regin of Emperor Qian Long (1736-1796) a large-scale project was carried on over 30 years, making the palace a grand imperial garden.
- Historical Travel
- Castles and Palaces
Bejhai Park (cont)
Beihai Park is composed of Tuancheng (Circulate City), Jionghua Islet, Eastern Shore Scenic Area and Northwestern Shore Scenic Area, with Jionghua Islet as the center. The small island is connected with other parts by a stone bridge and ferry boats.
Bejhai Park is in the city centre a little to the north of Gugun. In the X-th century governors Lao constructed the imperial palace surrounded by magnificent park. The big artificial lake (in translation- Northern sea) in the middle of which filled Nefrit island was dug. The lake gets waters from the river Jondin.
After new ruling dynasty Zin erected own "Forbidden city", Bejhai became a vacation spot and entertainments of an imperial court yard. During Yuan epoch the ensemble was updated and expanded. Bejhai became a residence of the Chinese monarches again.
- National/State Park
- Historical Travel
Tuancheng: The Round City - Part 2
The ravages of time and subsequent emperors' desires changed the landscape of this little 'city' but not enormously. in 1669, an earthquake damaged the Chenguangdian, but it was rebuilt in identical form.
In 1746, Qianlong, who had a special affinity with this little place for some reason, landscaped the gardens and added a number of pavilions.
Perhaps the biggest change was when Ci Xi converted the Chengguangdian into an altar for the huge jade statue of Buddha brought back from Myanmar by the monk Ming Kuan.
Empress Dowager Ci Xi used to visit the Round City regularly, but in a rather curious manner. She would get the palace eunuchs and maids to set up a country market so that she could take part in cameos roles of real-life. (She did the same thing at the Summer Palace as well).
In 1900 the invading British and French forces damaged the giant Buddha, and many other objects were looted.
Some 50 or so years later, Zhou Enlai intervened to save the Round City from destruction when the road outside, Jingshan Qianjie, was being widened.
Today the Tuancheng is truly serene place, with some of the most graceful trees in the world sitting atop the terrace. The cypress was given the title "The Marquis of Shade" by Emperor Qianlong in gratitude for the shade it provided him over the years. Nearby, the stunningly beautiful lace-ark pine was named "The General" for unknown reasons. The Chengguangdian remains one of my favourite buildings in China, even though some of the styling is probably from the 1900s rather than the Ming period.
An evening stroll and expensive drink
In the centre of Beijing north of the Forbidden City lies an imperial garden – today's public park Beihai ("North See" in Chinese). It is oppen from 6 am to 8.30 pm. Entrance fee is 10 RMB (5 for students - but you have to be persistent).
Beihai Lake covers almost half of the park area. There are beautiful vistas from the lake shore and from the island in the middle. On the highest point of the island is Bai Ta (White Dagoba) the symbol of the park. It is especially nice there in the evening, when crowds of tourists leave the place and it is left to the local people strolling around, playing Chinese chess, writing on the paving with a brush and water...
After the walk through the park you can stroll by the channel to the north (near the Bell and Drum Tower) and have a drink at one of the channel's very popular, very posh (and expensive) bars.
- Arts and Culture
- Family Travel
Beijing also called Yanjing at past. There are famous " Eight Sight of Yanjing".Four sight is in Beihai that you can image how is Beihai.This white pagoda is used to store lection. It's hear of that if you walk around the pagoda several times with odd number, your dream will come true. Surely this is a way that people impetrate bless. However I prefer stand beside the pagoda to listening the singing of the windbell at the top.=)
Beihai Park-one of most favourite parks in Beijing
I have noticed that many VT members highly recommended a visit to Beihai Park. It is next to Jingshan Park. The closest subway is not very near it so if you are coming from another place, I would recommend that you take a taxi to go to Beihai Park. I walked a long way from Behai Park after my visit.
Now, as to the beauty of Beihai Park, it has what a dream park would ideally have. Visitors will feel harmony, contentment, happiness and lose their sense of time while there.
The most prominent feature of Beihai Park is no doubt the Temple Dagoba. Let me share with you my bitter experience. I did climb up my way to get there but when I was that close, my point of entry said construction is being done so please take so and so back door. I went to that door and all I saw was a courtyard with some hanging clothes. Let's put it this way, workers in that park probably stay there to help maintain it. But out of fear of being accused of trespassing, I stopped when I was halfway and turned around. I can't ask anybody because the caretakers do not speak English. Whatever, I did turn around and do not regret a thing. Beihai Park has so many features that you can get stuck in one place and realize you haven't seen 3/4 of the entire park!
This 800-year old park has the following buildings among its 50 buildings: Tower for Storing Ancient Calligraphy, Rading Room of Carvings, Painting Boat, Studio of Peaceful Mind, Snow Hall, Temple of Good Luck, Ten Thousand Buddha Tower, Studio of Peaceful Mind.
I, for one, would like to thank the gardeners who masterminded the design and did perfect arrangement of Beihai Park. The corridors, bridges, the gardens, the pavilions, they simply please the senses. The garden covers an area of 150 hectares.
There is a fine resto inside but it was closed when I decided to have lunch at 3 pm. There are small eateries/restaurants by the lake and I have tried dumplings there. Very delicious!
Locals take boats to go across the lake.
Quiet park - Exhausting visit
Bei Hai park is a traditional Chinese park, which means that you will do a considerable amount of climbing up and down steps to enjoy it fully.
Bei Hai park is located on a lovely lake, and consists of temples, pavilions, a vertiginous stupa and many other structures.
A large part of the delight is the sight and the sound of the crowd: spoiled only children with anxious mothers, singing seniors, card players...
Bei Hai park is almost "next door" to the Forbidden City. I visited both consecutively, and that was exhilarating but a bit hard on the legs...
If you like Bai Hai park, you'll love the Summer Palace, a similar but larger complex on a lake.
- Castles and Palaces
Empress Dowager Ci Xi and the Jade Buddha
Along with the Jade Bowl and the Chengguangdian, one of the fascinating sights here is the huge jade statue of Buddha now sitting in that hall. Ci Xi converted the Chengguangdian into an altar for a huge jade statue of Buddha brought back from Myanmar by the monk Ming Kuan. This enterprising monk set off on his travels pretending to be a representative of Ci Xi and was treated ike royalty everywhere he visited. ("Oooh yes! The Empress Dowager? We're like this. Brother and sister. We're always round each others house. Chatting, having a few drinks. Yes. ") Then he suddenly found himself saddled with a gift in Myanmar which happened to be one of the largest jade carvings in the world, and a bit of a dilemma. You can't go home to Beijing and keep a 1.5 metre high statue of Buddha on the porch without people wondering where you got it. The palace guards were deeply suspicious and were going to have the monk-tourist arrested, and it required the intervention of Li Lianying, chief eunuch, to save him. The monk confessed to Ci Xi, who obviously was quite impressed with the wit and enterprise of the monk. She kept the jade Buddha and, presumably, went round to the monk's house for a few drinks and a chat. (In truth, he was given 500 taels of silver).
Presciently, and with a rather good sense of style, she placed the Buddha close to the other huge jade carving, the big Jin era bowl.
Bei Hai Park - Next to Forbidden City
Bei Hai Park is just a 10 minutes walk if you exit the Forbidden City on the North Exit and just across the street from the West Exit of Jing Shan Park.
It is a smaller imperial garden than Summer Palace. The highlight is the Lamma Buddhist Temple on the island of the Bei Hai Lake.
A long climb all the way to the very top of the Lamma Pagoda gives a wonderful view of the Forbidden city and a panaromic view of Beijing City.
Nine Dragon Wall in Bei Hai Park
Built in 1756, the Nine-Dragon Wall is five meters high, 23 meters long, and 1.2 meters thick. It is composed of 424 seven-color glazed bricks in bas-relief. There are nine coiling dragons on either side of the wall.
Since I am a dragon myself (born in 1976), I HAD to add a tenth dragon!
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