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Home >> Beijing Travel Attractions >> Fragrant Hills Park (Xiangshan Park) tourist information

Fragrant Hills Park

Beijing Fragrant Hills
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 car.

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.

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