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Zhongshan Park

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Zhongshan Park is one of the key historic sites under national protection. It lies to the west of Tian'anmen. It used to be the Altar to the Gods of Land and Grain (Shejitan) where the Ming and Qing emperors offered sacrifices to the God of Land in the 2nd lunar month and the God of Grain in the 8th. In 1913, on the suggestion of minister of communications Zhu Qijin, funds were raised for simple renovation and transformation of the ancient shrine. It was officially opened to the public on Oct. 10 the next year, when it was called the Central Park. When Dr. Sun Yat-sen died in 1925, his coffin was placed in a shrine (now called Zhongshan Hall) in the park. In 1928, the park's name was changed to Zhongshan Park to commemorate the great leader.

In the Tang Dynasty, a Buddhist temple stood where the park is. During the Liao and Jin dynasties, a temple called Xingguo Temple was built here, whose name was changed to Wanshou Xinguo Temple in Yuan Dynasty. In 1420, or the 18th year of Emperor Yongle's reign in the Ming Dynasty, at the same time the Forbidden City was being built, Emperor Zhu Di had the altar to the Gods of Land and Grain built here, in accordance with the principle of Zhou Ritual “ancestors on the left and Sheji on the right”. The altar covered nearly 240,000 square meters. Today cypresses planted in the Liao and Jin dynasties are still growing well, and the Ming relics——the altar, its wall and gates, the Worship Hall, the Divine Kitchen, the Divine Warehouse, and the Slaughter Pavilion——are mostly well preserved.

The Altar to the Gods of Land and Grain is the only surviving one of its kind. It is divided into an inner section and an outer section. The center of the inner section is a platform covered with five colors of soil, with yellow in the middle, blue in the east, red in the south, white in the west, and black in the north. In the center of the platform is buried a stone known as the Jiangshan (the national territory or the throne) Stone. The low walls surrounding the altar, with Lingxing Gates in each direction, are covered with glazed tiles, whose colors correspond to the colors of soil on the platform.

Since the altar was converted into a park, it has been substantially transformed without destroying its original style. Some attractions have been moved here, such as the Protocol-Practicing Pavilion in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the pavilion housing the Lanting tablet from Yuanmingyuan Garden, the stone lions made in Han and Tang dynasties from Daming Temple in Hebei, and the stone Ketteler Arch (whose name was first changed to The Victory of Justice and the Peace-Defending Arch) from Dongdan. Some famous stones that used to be in the imperial palace, such as Qingyunpian (green cloud) and Qinglianduo (green lotus), have also been moved here. Tanghuawu (Waterside Greenhouse) has been renovated; a music hall has been built.

Many rare species of orchids have been introduced from Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Guangxi, Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan, and Tibet. In 1964, Chief Commissioner Zhu De offered his own orchids as a gift to the park. Now the park has nearly 3,000 pots of orchids of over 100 valuable species, a rare collection in north China.

The park is home to many trees. Of the 602 ancient cypresses, seven date back to the Liao Dynasty, that is, over a millennium ago. They are still growing very well. To the southeast of the inner section of the shrine is a Chinese scholartree wonderfully entwined with a cypress. Behind Tanghuawu is a grove of age-old peonies of valuable species, which send off a rich fragrance when blossoming.

In recent years, Jinyuxuan Restaurant in the park has developed a special attraction——the Red Mansion cuisine, which consists of dozens of dishes.

Apart from serving for leisure and sightseeing, the park also plays its part in the political arena of the capital by helping to bring about the reunification of China. Since the founding of the People's Republic, on anniversaries of Sun Yat-sen's birth or death, renowned people from all walks of life are gathered here for commemorative activities. In the 1950s to 1960s, leaders of the Party and the country had come here many times to celebrate Labor Day and National Day with the common people.

Address: west of Tian'anmen, Dongcheng District, Beijing

Edit by: Dorothy

Zhangfang Ancient Battle Tunnel

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Zhangfang Ancient Battle Tunnel is located in Zhangfang Village in Zhangfang Town, Fangshan District of Beijing, and is 80 kilometers from the city. According to primary exploration, it is 1,500 meters long, of which 400 meters are excavated. Historical experts proved that it is the only discovered ancient military tunnel in Beijing with rooms of military soldiers, weapons, commanders and living facilities. It is of high value for the research of ancient military affairs, politic and architecture.

Edit by: Dorothy

Yunju Temple

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As a famous temple in Beijing area, Yunju Temple is 70 kilometers from Beijin City.

First built in Daxing Reign of the Sui Dynasty, this temple preserved large amount of Buddhist sutras made of stone, paper and wood, which are called Three Treasures of Yunju Temple. Monks in this temple had been carving Buddhist sutras for thousand year in six dynasties, and made out 14,278 pieces of 3,572 volumes from 1,122 Buddhist sutras which were preserved in nine caves in Shijing Mountain and in the underground palace of Yunju Temple. With these No.1 Buddhist sutra carving works in the world, Yunju Temple is renowned as Dunhuang in Beijing and the Great Wall of Sutra. It is also called the Sea of Steles and Forest of Pagodas because of the well preserved pagodas, seven from the Dang Dynasty and five from the Liao Dynasty. In 1981, two pieces of sariras of Sakyamuni were discovered in Leiyin Cave in Shijing Mountain. These sariras are the only ones in the world buried in caves instead of being worshiped in dagobas, and along with the Buddha's teeth in Badachu and the Buddha's finger in Famen Temple, are considered Three Treasures of the nation. Yunju Temple was designated as No.1 Tourist Attraction of the world in Beijing in 1992. It is a National AAAA Tourist Attraction, Municipal Scenic Area, and was prescribed on the Reserved List of World Cultural Heritage.

Edit by: Dorothy

Yunxiu Valley Scenic Spot

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Yunxiu Valley Scenic Spot is located within Xinchengzi in the east part of Miyun County. Formally opened to the public in 1989, it is a tourist scenic spot integrating sightseeing, nomadic hunting, and vacationing.

The hunting area stretches for eight kilometers, and covers an area of 9.5 square kilometers. It is a multi-functional hunting area including valleys, pools, falls, glacier rocks, natural plantation, all kinds of rare animals, Ming beacon towers, shooting flying disk, etc. There are more than 30 sights in the scenic spot, mainly including: five-color three-fold, bottomless abyss, spraying beads in the Yao Pool, two dragons playing with pearl, Yunxiu Falls, etc.

The rock sceneries include: Glacier floating Rocks Camel Summit, Frog watching the Moon, etc. The cultural relics include Ming beacon tower, Ming ancient castle, ancient tree of 1,000 years of age, etc. The enclosed hunting shed is 10,000 square meters. The hunting area is 6,000 mu (about 3.9 square kilometers), which is half open, with more than 20 types of animals and birds. In addition, activities such as 500-meter prompt drop, flying disk, open-air ball, bon-fire evening have attracted many tourists.

Edit by: Dorothy

Yanqi Lake

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Located about 10 kilometers to the north of Huairou District of Beijing, Yanqi Lake is a comprehensive recreation place integrating sightseeing, vacation spending, and physical exercises. It used to be called North Taishang Reservoir. In 1985, Beijing Tourism Planning Department decided to develop it to be a tourist site. As the water of the reservoir comes from Yanqi River, and there are large crowds of wild geese taking a rest here both in spring and autumn, it is called Yanqi Lake. In 1987, it was formally open to receive the visitors.

Yanqi Lake is surrounded by mountains in three directions, adjacent to Mutianyu Great Wall in the north, Hongluo Temple in the west, and North China Plain in the south. Yanqi Lake has abundant water source and spacious water surface. The acreage of its upstream is 127 square kilometers. The lake holds 3830 cubic meters of water, and the water surface is 230 hectares. The lakeshore line stretches about 20 kilometers, with the deepest place at 25 meters. The water comes from the Lotus Spring and the Shentangyu Stream in its upper reaches. Now there are more than 50 recreation and sports items in the park. The aquatic items include large passenger ship, dragon boat, barge, speed boat, motorcycle above water, flying umbrella above water, racing car above water, rowing boat and pedalo, etc. The land items include advancing in rip current, roller coaster, super spaceship, disc war chariot, challenger racing car, rocket-style bungee, flyer, landing on the water surface, sheave pulley on high mountains, rock climbing, arrow shooting, mini-drifting, etc. The forests on the Jinteng Mount beside the lake are exuberant, with winding paths. The footpath leads to the pavilion on the summit overlooking the lake. By climbing there, the tourists can not only do some physical exercises, return to nature, but also appreciate the whole view of the lake. The tourists can go past the 560-meter-long float bridge to the scenic area on the west bank of the lake, stroll on the forest paths, breathe the fresh air full of negative oxygen ions, and enjoy leisure and delight in natural forests.

The accessory facilities of the park are complete. There is a vacation village beside the lake, which can accommodate 200 tourists. There are about 30 top-rate hotels around the lake area, containing 10,000 beds, more than 200 conference rooms of various sizes, as well as other recreation and sports facilities such as sauna, bowling, indoor swimming, gym, card and chess room, karaoke, etc. There are six restaurants in the park, which can hold 2000 people at the same time. There are more than 100 special delicacies served including roasted rainbow trout and roasted whole lamb.

Edit by: Dorothy
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