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Round City of Beihai Park

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Round City (Tuan Cheng)

Round City stands at the west side of the south gate of Beihai Park. It is a round building surrounded by a 5-meter-high wall, and has a distinctive courtyard studded with halls, pavilions and ancient trees.

With a circumference of only 276 meters, 4,500 square metres in area, Round City is perhaps the smallest city in the world. The walls of the city protected the residence of Kublai Khan, the first emperor of the Yuan dynasty(1271-1368). The major building in the Round City is Chengguangdian (the Hall to Receive the Light), Yuwengting (Jade Jar Pavilion) and an 800-year-old pine tree. The Round City is of great artistic value in the history of ancient gardening in China.

The Hall of Receiving Light (Chengguang Hall) is the main structure in the Round Cityhas a square platform in front and a roof of several tiers of flying eaves. The roof is covered with glazed yellow tiles and edged with green glazed tiles. During the Ming Dynasty the emperor liked to come here to watch fireworks. It was converted into a Buddha hall during the Qing Dynasty. Now there is a Buddha statue of white jade in it.

The Hall of Receiving the Light was built in 1746 after the style of the watchtower in the Palace Museum. It has two verandahs, one on the east side and the other on the west. To the west in the rear are the Pavilion of Penetrating Fragrance and the Pavilion of Clear Ripples. To the east are the Ancient Musical Pipe Pavilion and the Pavilion of Scattered Clouds.

Jade Urn
The Jade Jar, which is 0.66 metre high and 1.5 metres in diameter, was used as a wine vessel by Kublai Khan during the Yuan Dynasty. Carved out of a whole piece of jade 700 years ago, the jar weighs 3.5 tons. It was originally kept in the Palace in the Moon. The Jade Urn is carved out of a single piece of black jade. On its outer surface are designs of sea-dragons and other marine beasts amidst rolling waves, and inside is inscribed a poem by Emperor Qianlong about the jar. After the Palace in the Moon collapsed in the Ming Dynasty, the Jade Jar was taken to Zhenwumiao (True Martial Temple), where it was used as a pickle jar. It was recovered in 1749. A pavilion was built especially to house it on the order of Emperor Qianlong.

The statue of Buddha, 1.5 meters high, carved from a block of lustrous jade, a present from Burma to Empress Dowager Cixi. It was carved out of a whole piece of jade. The crown and garment are of gold foil and inlaid with red and green crystals. Its left arm bears gashes made by swords, a result of the looting of soldiers of the Eight-Power Allied Forces who invaded Beijing in 1900. But now you can hardly find it after repair.

Lacebark Pine
When you go up the terrace, you can see an ancient lacebark pine on your right about 20 metres tall. The pine was planted in the Jin Dynasty, one of the oldest in Beijing. The cypress trees in front of the Hall to Receive the Light are all several hundred years old. Emperor Qianlong is said to have granted titles to these ancient trees: for example, the General in White Robe, for the white bark pine. East of the Hall to Receive the Light there is an 800-year-old tree. It is 10.46 metres high, 94.6 centimeters in diameter, shades the sun from 107.6 square metres. The pine was named the Sunshade Marquess by Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty as he once sheltered under it on a hot summer day. A lightning rod has been placed on top of the tree, and it is still growing healthily although one of its branches was broken by heavy snow in 1960.

In Beijing detailed records 4,200 pine trees which are more than 300 years old, have been compiled. Similar work is also being carried out on some another 20,000 trees, aged between 100 and 300 years.
Since 1983, detailed records have been built up listing each tree's age, height, diameter, shade area, and environment and including photographs and any legendary story attached to the tree. The information is fed into a computer and is used for research work aiming at better protecting these aged trees.
Local groups set up to compile records in parks, at historical sites and scenic spots are also now caring for the old trees by providing manure, irrigation and insecticides.

Beijing Private Tour to Beihai Park
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Beijing Tour Routes Covers Beihai Park
Chinatravelkey can add Beihai Park in the following tours with extra cost 10 USD per person.

BH-1. 3 nights 4 days Beijing tour BH-2. 4 nights 5 days Beijing tour
BH-3. 5 nights 6 days Beijing tour BH-4. 6 nights 7 days Beijing tour
BK-1. 2 days Beijing tour BK-2. 3 days Beijing tour
BK-3. 4 days Beijing tour BK-4. 5 days Beijing tour
BK-5. 6 days Beijing tour BK-6. 7 days Beijing tour
BD-12. Half day Beijing Hutong BST-3. Beijing Hutong and Zoo bus tour
BTA-7. Beijing Hutong tour BJSH-1. 5 days Beijing Shanghai Tour
BJSH-2. 6 days Beijing Shanghai Tour BJSH-3. Beijing Shanghai Suzhou Tour (7 days)
BJSH-4. 9 days Beijing Shanghai Suzhou Hangzhou Tour BJLH-1. Beijing Lhasa Tour

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