Passing into the Jingshan Park through its Main Gate at the South End of the Park is as entering into a different world. Leaving the bustling Car- and Bus-noises behind, ones mood is immediately transformed by the Traditional Architecture within the Park as well as by its abundant greenery.
This page was last updated on: June 21, 2017
Entering the Park
- Click Photo to Enlarge -
- Click to Enlarge -
Study the Map and get your bearings for a Hike around or dwell the Peony and Rose Gardens of the Park and explore the Splendid Gates and Architecture. To the West one can walk around underneath and then around the Jingshan, or walk up along its western Ridge to reach the Top with its magnificient scenic view.
The Park covers 23 hectares and started its History as part of the Imperial Palace of the 13th Century Yuan Dynasty (Mongol Kublai's).
In fact the Jingshan is a pile of the Yuan Palaces debris left after the Yongle Emperor ordered it to be raised in order to make way for new Palace and Capital City of the Ming Dynasty (which had previously been situated at Nanjing in Jiangsu Province).
The Yuan Dynasty Palace stood to the north of the current Ming and Qing Era Palace and extended to the West where remnants of it can still be found at adjacent Beihai Park, where the so called Round or Rounded City is a part of the Yuan Dynasty Palace of Khanbalik, the Mongol name of their Capital. Parts of the ancient city walls of Yuan Dynasty Capital of Khanbalik may also be found in the north of the city near the south gate of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Park.
After your visit and tour of Jingshan Park, you may want to pop over to the south gate
QiWang Tower with WanChun Pavillion on Top of Prospect Hill in the Background.
The South of the Park Gate with Tourist Groups entering.
Map of Jingshan Park
- Click to Enlarge -
From the South Gate of Jingshan Park onward there are a number of possible directions. to take within the park. Minding that Jingshan Park is a symmetrically laid down Park, which in addition is square of shape, one can either turn right or Left and while going around the end up in the same location where one left of.
The only real options are the climb the Jingshan Hill first and head directly to the top via the small meandering path leading up the hill from a location adjacent the Qiwang Tea Pavilion, or to turn left or right and first explore the park at the ground level.
For a Perfect View, of the Forbidden City (Gugong) one must get up Prospect Hill.
There is a pathway leading uphill at both East and West-sides. For the fastest way to the Top take the Path directly right and behind the QiWang Tower, leading directly up Prospect Hill to the right-and-middle Pavilion, the Wan Chun Ting.
Turning left and heading west one surprisingly finds nothing but path and trees, however at the end of the path one can climb up the rim of the Coal Hill or alternatively turn north to explore
The Wooden Arch-way of the Entrance in classical Ming style with a delicately painted interior.
Once inside the traditional Gate with its colorful and delicate paintings directions one can go either West or East or head directly across and take in the Qiwang Tower and Tea Pavilion. Whenever the season is warm, this is usually a gathering spot for many visitors and the large square gives great opportunity to Beijing's now somewhat Famous "Water Writers". These calligraphers, who write their works in water make grateful use of the large square inside and are now a regular feature in Spring and Summers.
On the flankside of the first tourist shop a few meters to the Right of the South Gate hangs a Tourist Map and a brief
introduction to the Jingshan Park. This Map is the same Map that appears on the backside of the entrance ticket. The introduction is only short and has far less information than these report pages. Nevertheless, they help one on the way to enjoying the best of the Park.
As described on the Wall the Park does have a somewhat Flamboyant History indeed.
- Mouse over Image -
Empty Square and a Peaceful Qiwang Tower Pavilion underneath Jingshan Ridge on a Cold Novembers Day in 2002.
Placed directly across from the Southern Gate and at the foot of the Prospect Hill we find QiWang Tower. The tower, built in a richly decorated Ming-style with a somewhat unusual architecture is now a tea-house for weary visitors and Tourists. The Tea House is historic as it was built in 1750 AD, during the Qianlong Period of the Qing Dynasty.
The Tea House is 2 storied and 15 meters high by 20 meters wide. Its spacious interior of 1000 square meters once held a Memorial Tablet to Confucius which has been lost. In all a visit is an excellent opportunity for visitors who just left The Forbidden City and need to regain their strengths. A long and steep climb is ahead for the Best views of the Imperial Palace Museum.
Head due East from the South Entrance and wind up at the "Hanging Tree", today somewhat of a memorial place to the Last Ming Emperor who committed suicide inside the Park.
Jingshan was created to serve as a magical barrier which protected the Shenwu Men North Gate from the infringement of bad spirits and influences, as was the ideal requirement stipulated according to Feng Shui (geomancy) theory.
Interestingly, to make this a solid barrier, the Jingshan was topped up high enough for its top pavilion to become the highest point in Beijing, which it then remained for centuries and even well into the Communist New China Era (after 1949).
During the Ming Era the Jingshan Park served as an Imperial Pleasure Garden which was also the location of an Important Imperial Temple (Holy Shrine), the building of which one may still find today in the back (north part) of the Park.
In the Place of the Yuan Dynasty Palace the Ming built their own supposedly even more Grandiose Forbidden City (Today: The Palace Museum), during the building of which (1403-1420 AD) under the Yongle Emperor of the Ming Dynasty no cost was spared. In the process of creating the Imperial Palace as a central point in the larger architectural design and lay-out of the entire Imperial Capital of Beijing of the Ming Dynasty, the
Introductory Plaquette of the QiWang Tower with background information.
When in 1644 AD the Manchu house from North Eastern China lead a successful Revolt against the Imperial Ming and Beijing finally fell to their onslaught, it was in this Park that the Last Ming Emperor took refuge in despair.
Being unable to bare the thought of the Manchu's burning his precious Palace to the ground, Emperor Chong Zhen (or Chun Cheng ) killed his own Family, then ended the Ming Dynasty by hanging himself from a Tree. The Tree can be found to the Right of the South Gate, all the way through to the South-East corner of the Park where the ridge ends. Mind you, the Tree is not the Original Tree as too many years have gone by since. The Palace was not burned and served for another 367 years.
After 1644 AD, when the Manchu's established their Ching (Qing) Dynasty over China, the Jingshan continued to serve as an Imperial Pleasure Garden inside the Imperial City, the City surrounding the Purple Palace.
Later at the end of the Qing Dynasty and birth of the Republic in 1911 AD the Park was turned into a Public Park, finally opening it to the common citizens of Beijing.
It has been a Public Park ever since, although at times such as during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), the parks gates remained locked keeping everyone out.
The QiWang Tower Pavilion with vistors with Jingshan's Main Wanchun Pavilion under renovations in May 2006.
Click the Images to Enlarge Photo & Text.
The QiWang Tower amidst the Green.
Peony bushes surrounding the QiWang Tower in May 2006.
On December the 12Th of 1936 AD, students of all Beijing Universities and Middle Schools took to the Streets protesting the refusal of the KuoMingTang National Government in Nanking to operate on a National Front in War against the Japanese. With the Universities in Peking (Beiping as it was called at the time) situated in various districts and locations with the nearest Beijing Beijing University, some historic buildings of which still stand to the east of Jingshan Park today,
the student group from various Universities had arranged to gather and join together at Shenwu Men and Jingshan Park.
While several foreign journalists and writers gathered to witness, some taking photographs, the students marched up to the park and gate in columns from both East and West. There they were however met by the Police and the protests were brutally suppressed, with the students running for their lives for guns and swords, while the assembled column of students broke off and scattered into nearby alleys while being pursued by Police. That day, numerous students were killed, wounded and arrested by the Kuomintang Police. This however by no means stopped the sentiments against the Japanese, nor the inevitable choice the Generalissimo would have to take. Defend China or go down with it with the Chinese wringing his neck.
Although the Beijing Student Protest in 1936 had been suppressed, word of mouth ensured that soon everyone knew about the causes of outrage and so the protests became a nationwide movement. Not many years later, the movement would erupt again as the "Xian Incident", in which Chiang Kai-shek, the great Nationalist Leader was humiliatingly captured and taken hostage by what were in essence his own troops.
around the hill and to the north, where among things one may find the former "Children's Palace" of Beijing recently restored to a museum status within the Jingshan Park.
of Beihai Park which has the circular city right adjacent. This south gate is situated some 500 meters to the west of the Southern Gate into Jingshan Park.
Perhaps it is owing to the fierce nature and reputation of the Mongols that when the Han Chinese Ming Dynasty had conquered their Throne, they decided to construct Jingshan, which can be seen as a Feng Shui barrier between the remnants of the Old Mongol Palace and the new Han Imperial Palace. In a larger context it may even be seen as barrier between Chinese China and the Mongolian Territories to the north, albeit in a strictly magical sense.