History of Beijing:
The Tiananmen Gate was first built in 1417 in the Ming Dynasty. During the demise of the Ming Dynasty, heavy fighting between Li Zicheng and the early Qing emperors damaged (or perhaps destroyed) the gate. The Tian'anmen square was originally designed and built in Beijing in 1651. It was enlarged to its present size (four times its original size) and cemented over in 1958.
British and French troops who invaded Beijing in 1860 pitched camp near the gate and briefly considered burning the gate and the entire Forbidden City down. They decided ultimately to spare the palace and to burn instead the emperor's Old Summer Palace. The Qing emperor eventually agreed to let the foreign powers establish headquarters in the area. During the Boxer Rebellion of 1900 the siege badly damaged the office complexes and several ministries were burnt down. In the conflictÃ¢ÂÂs denouement, the area became a space for foreign troops to assemble their armies and horses. It was cleared in due course to produce the beginning of what is now known as the Tiananmen Square.
The history of Prince Gong's Mansion
Covering a ground area of 28,000 square meters, the Garden of Prince Gong 's Mansion is surrounded by the man-made hills on four sides. Totally 25 small and large scenes can be seen there and the architectural features of the gardens from both northern and southern China are combined perfectly in the mansion.
The garden has an arched stone gate in typical Western architectural style, and upon entering the garden, one can see the five-meter high Dule-Peak, which is a rock procured from Lake Tai in southern China. Behind it is the Bat Pond (Bat is a homonym of happiness in Chinese). Beyond the pond stands the Anshan Hall and opposite, at the center of the garden, is a hill bearing a stone tablet inscribed with the Chinese character 'fu' (happiness) in the calligraphy of Emperor Kangxi (1662-1723). Behind the hill are masterpieces of garden architecture, with more than 20 scenic spots. In addition to its artificial hill, trees, flowers, pavilions and terraces,the garden also contains the unique feature of its own theater.
This theater is lofty and spacious, with subtle lighting, and on its walls Chinese wisteria and green leaves are painted, giving the audience the feeling they are sitting beneath trellises. The floor is paved in pseudo-gold brick, and the seats consist of old-fashioned wooden armchairs furnished with square tables. The performers and the audience are in close proximity, so there is no need for audio amplifying equipment.Here, people can enjoy kunqu,Peking Opera and imperial music, a unique experience full of Qing historical significance
The distinctive halls, platforms, houses and pavilions, together with waters and plants have created delicate and elegant scenery-As a masterpiece of classical private gardens, the garden of Prince Gong's Mansion is worth a good enjoying.
History and Culture
The Garden of Prince Gong's Mansion used to be the private residence of He Kun, a famous scholar in the reign of Emperor Qiang Long (1736-17960). It was changed into Palace of Prince Qing in the forth year of Jia Jing Region (1786-1821). In the initial Xian Feng Period (1851-1862), it was changed into the Garden of Prince GongÃ¢ÂÂs Mansion. It was controlled by three hosts during 70 years. During the reign of Emperors Xian Feng and Tong Zhi (1862-1875), the garden was repaired in accordance with the orders of Prince Yi Xin, with palaces built, pools dug, mounts piled up and threes planted behind the Garden. As a result, the Cui Jin Garden - a beautiful garden with the same artistic conception as the Grand View garden described in the famous classical novel Dream of Red Mansions was constructed. It is as attracting as the Mansions of Prince Zheng and Prince Chun which were quite popular at that time. The Garden of Prince Gong's Mansion is the most intact ancient garden preserved. It was cited by government as the key unit of preservation of culture relics.
A Short History of the Beijing Zoo
The land on which the Beijing Zoo sits has always been a beautiful site. In fact, it is so attractive that it was set aside by noblemen and emperors to be used as parks on their estate. In 1906, however, the land was converted into an experimental farm and zoo, which was called the Garden of Ten Thousand Animals.
The zoo opened to the public for the first time in 1908. Unfortunately, it suffered greatly in periods of war and unrest, and by 1937,most of the animals had died. After 1949, the zoo was rebuilt and was again opened to the public in 1950. It was later given the simple but descriptive name, The Beijing Zoo, in 1955.
The Animals of the Zoo
One of the most famous and expansive zoos in the world, the Beijing Zoo has come a very long way from its days of suffering and neglect. It covers over 50,000 square meters and includes habitats that imitate China, Africa, North and South America, Europe, and India.
Inside these numerous habitats, visitors will find over 7,000 animals that are representatives of over 600 different species. These include several species of bears, lions, tigers, zebras, many different sorts of birds, yaks, hippopotamuses, giraffes, gorillas, elephants, rhinoceroses, antelope, wild oxen, kangaroos, gibbons, chimpanzees and monkeys. The zoo also has a reptile hall, which houses different many types of reptiles, including sea turtles, pythons, and crocodiles. The zoo is especially famous for its collection of native Chinese animals, however, especially the giant panda, the red panda, the golden monkey, Pere David's deer, and the red-crowned crane.
The Great Western Hills
The Great Western Hills, the capital's green crown and Beijing's famous ecological conservation zone, includes such natural scenic spots as the Phoenix Ridge, Yangtai Hill and Jiu Peak, the Cheerying, Qiwangfen, Xugezhuang and Guanjialing Villages and the 1000-year old temple of Dajue. With a profound history, rich culture and beautiful natural landscape, it has long been a good resort for having leisure and finding interests in Beijing's suburbs.