Chinese Culture – Beijing’s Royal Gardens

Compared with private gardens, royal gardens have the following characteristics:

1. They are very big, taking real mountains and real waters as the main factors for constructing gardens. Therefore, they pay greater attention to site selection, and their technique of building the garden is close to a realistic painting.

2. Royal gardens have a wider scope of scenic area, with more scenic spots and richer landscape.

3. The content of function and scale of activity are much richer and grander than private gardens. Almost all of them have palaces attached to them, located at the main entrances to the garden and used for holding court. There are also residential halls within the garden.

4. They stress a beautiful and imposing style to play up the royal atmosphere. Their appearance is quite solemn, different from the light and beautiful style of areas south of the Yangtze River.

The extant royal gardens are in the vicinity of Beijing. The Summer Palace is one of the most famous ones.

Summer Palace

The Summer Palace in northwest Beijing was built in the 15th year (1750) of Qing Emperor Gaozong. It was twice destroyed by the Anglo-French Allied Forces and the Eight-Power Allied Forces in the 19th and the turn of the 20th century, but was rebuilt and remains well preserved.