Fragrant Hills Park
Fragrant Hill is located at the west
part of Haidian district, 25 kilometers away from central
Beijing. It covers an area of 1.6 square kilometers,
with the highest peak 557 meters above sea level. The
hill's name derives from the shape of its
highest peak, which looks like an incense burner. The
"Xiang" in the hill's
name refers to incense. The park was built in 1186 during
the Jin Dynasty, and was expanded and improved over
the following Yuan and Ming dynasties. In 1745, Emperor
Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty extended the park, with
addition of many halls, pavilions and gardens, and renamed
it Jingyi Garden. It was destroyed in 1860 and 1900
by foreigner invaders. Since 1949, extensive renovation
and development have been conducted in the park. Now
it has been recognized as one of the ten most famous
parks in Beijing.
Fragrant Hill comprises a number of
historical sites such as: Baiyun Temple, which combines
architectural features of both the Ming and Qing dynasties,
Shuangqing Villa, Xiangshan Temple, which was the oldest
temple in the hill. Unfortunately, the temple was burned
down to the ground in 1860 by the Eight-Nation Alliance,
only a few stone steps and tablets left, and the Memorial
Hall of Doctor Sun Yat-sen.
The park has become known to travelers mainly because
of the sight of the brilliant red leaves of the smoke
trees in autumn, which set the park ablaze. Every fall,
the park attracts thousands of tourists to see its fall
scenery of the hill blanketed in red. The best time
to view the red leaves is from October to November,
and the best vantage point is from on high, via a cable
One must-see attraction in the hill is Shuangqing Villa.
It is an elegant courtyard located at the southeast
slope of the hill. Two streams run through the courtyard,
which give it an idyllic atmosphere. There are ancient
gingko trees in the garden. Except for its natural beauty,
Shuangqing Villa won its place in the Chinese hearts
because of its place in Chinese revolutionary history.
It once served as the residence of Mao Zedong as well
of an early site for the headquarters of the Central
Committee of the Communist Part in China.
Cloud Taoist Temple
Center "Water Cube"
Stadium "Bird's Nest"