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Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan), Beijing

(4.1/5 based on 700+ reviews on the web)
Favorite summer retreat for Qing emperors until its systematic destruction by Anglo-French troops in 1860, Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan) serves as a reminder of the ruthlessness of European gunboat diplomacy. Originally built in the 12th century, this partially restored palace spans 350 hectares (864 acres), expanded in the 18th and early 19th centuries with the help of two Italian Jesuits. Take a boat ride to explore lotus ponds, or stroll along the Jiuzhou lakefront to ponder intricately carved stone ruins and hundreds of scenic spots. Ascend the throne for observing waterworks and the maze of this "Versailles of the East," looted and thoroughly destroyed by the West. The first ever Pekinese dog in the UK, kidnapped by Lord Elgin from this spot as a gift to Queen Victoria, started a real vogue among British elites of the time. Arrange your visit to Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan) and discover more family-friendly attractions in Beijing using our Beijing holiday planner.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • I live in Beijing, so naturally I took the subway line 4 which drops you by the South Gate Entrance. If you want to JUST see the Ruins, GO TO THE EAST ENTRANCE. or else you will have to walk through e...  more »
  • While Beijing has so many places visited, but I liked it here. something new for eyes that are accustomed to seeing pagady and such ... and as usual with unusual ruins Park, feels the atmosphere of the past, and sometimes bring in places where there were some clay foundations and say here before in such that BC was such that great city. me is frustrating, and everything before you can touch, climb on ruins are not allowed, but that didn't stop us
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  • I kind of disgrace this place but i do appreciate the history of this places. Back than some acculturation happen here, Jesuit Priest help Kangxi Emperor to build a mechanical clock pond, it is 24 hou...  more »