Jingshan Park in Beijing, China started life as an imperial garden in Ming Dynasty era during the reign of Emperor Yongle. Jingshan Park has often been called “Coal Hill” due to the fact that it is an artificial mound made up of soil extracted during construction of the Forbidden Palace moat.
The intention in building the hill in Jingshan Park, a feat undertaken with a combination of manual labour and animals alone, was to protect Beijing from evil spirits.
Visitors to Jingshan Park can see numerous historic structures including the holy Hope Tower or “xiwanglou”, the coffins of the members of the Qing Dynasty at the Visiting Virtue Hall or “Guandedian” and the site where the final emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Chongzhen, hung himself from a Chinese scholar tree (although the tree is no longer there).
Self-guided Jingshan Park Tour
Jingshan Park, which has a history of 800 years, is one of the oldest and best preserved Royal gardens in China. It gains favor from many tourists not only because of its beautiful scenery, but more importantly because of its special location from where one can overlook the city of Beijing. Being the highest point on the north-south axis of Beijing, people can have a panoramic view of the Forbidden City, as well as the surrounding buildings.
South Gate of Jingshan Park
The park is located on the north side of the Forbidden City. There are many public buses to the park like bus No. 58, 60 where you can get off at East Street of Jingshan, or bus No. 101, 103, 109, 812, 812 where you can get off at the Forbidden City. The park opens from 06:30 to 21:00 and the entrance fee is CNY2.00 net for regular days. It is easy to visit Jingshan Park by yourself, however, it would be more interesting if you hire a guide or rent an explain device so as to learn some stories of Chinese history.
The park has three gates, South Gate, East Gate and West Gate. Entering from different gates, the sightseeing spots you will see are slightly different. While, the most popular route is to enter from South Gate and exit from East Gate. After you finish the tour of the Forbidden City and get out from Shenwu Gate, you may enter Jingshan Park directly from the South Gate.
The first spot you will visit is Yiwang Tower. It is located just inside of the South Gate, standing at the foot of Jing Hill. The tower was built in the year of 1750, the Qing Dynasty. It was the place where students of official school worshiped the great hierophant Confucius. A memorial tablet of Confucius was placed here which indicated the imperial government's advocating of Confucianism at that time.
Bonsai in Jingshan Park
Keep walking eastward, you will see a skew and short locust tree. It is a must to see when people travel to Jingshan Park, and you will learn a story about Emperor Chongzhen as it was the place where he hanged himself. Emperor Chongzhen, named Zhu Youjian, was the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty. When he ascended the throne, the country was in a crisis at that time. He was facing the problem of foreign aggression from late Jin Dynasty (Hou Jin), and also the internal insurgence from peasantry. During 17 years of his reign, he was conscientious, diligent and thrifty, but still was powerless to save the dynasty.
On Mar 18th of the year 1644, Beijing was breached by the insurrectional army under the leadership of Li Zicheng. Being not willing to live with humiliation, Emperor Chongzhen refused to surrender. He sent the Crown prince and other sons out of the city, compelled his empress to suicide, and killed several of his concubines. Then he climbed to the Coal Hill (named Jingshan nowadays), wrote a posthumous edict with his blood, covering his face with hair and then hanging himself on an old locust tree. The original tree has been chopped off and the one people can see today was transplanted in the year 1981.
After the tour of the locust tree, you may keep walking northward and come to Zhoushang Pavilion and Guanmiao Pavilion. There are five pavilions in Jingshan Park, Zhoushang Pavilion, Guanmiao Pavilion, Wanchun Pavilion, Jifang Pavilion and Fulan Pavilion. Originally, each of them had an oblate Buddha which represented acid, sweet, bitter and spicy hot respectively. However, they were plundered by aggressor during the war in the year 1900.
Overlook Forbidden City from Wanchun Pavilion
The tour to Zhoushang Pavilion and Guanmiao Pavilion is not necessary, as they have similar construction style with the two pavilions you just visited. Then we will go for the most important site in this park, which is Wanchun Pavilion. Wanchun Pavilion is the main reason for people traveling to Jingshan Park. This is the highest point on the north-south axis of Beijing, and it is the best place to overlook the full view of the Forbidden City. Most people like to come here for photography. Standing in the pavilion, you will see the magnificent Forbidden City on the south, the famous National Theater on the southwest, the delicate Beihai Park on the west, the Di&rsquoanmen Street and Drum Tower on the north, and if luckily the weather is unclouded, the newly built CCTV Tower on the east.
After the trip, you may go down the hill and depart from the East Gate.
The Jingshan Park journey does not take too much of your time. Usually one hour would be enough. You may combine the tour to Beihai Park and the Forbidden City in one day as they are close to each others. Besides, Jingshan Park is also the biggest garden to enjoy peony in Beijing. If you happen to travel during May, you should not miss it.
What is there to see in Jingshan Park? Here are four recommendations for you.
Take a Bird's-Eye View of the Forbidden City
Nightview of the Forbidden City
No matter whether it was during the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties or today, Jingshan Park is the center of Beijing City. It was also the highest point in old Beijing with an altitude of 92.4 meters. Taking a bird's-eye view of the Forbidden City is a must-do activity in Jingshan Park, which should be listed on your Beijing itinerary. If the weather is fine, you can easily see the ornate palaces of the Forbidden City, the Bell and Drum towers, and White Tower of Beihai Park.
Admire the Beautiful Peonies
There are tens of thousands of peonies in Jingshan Park during spring and autumn. The peony garden in Jingshan Park is the largest one in Beijing. More than 200 kinds of peonies bloom every May, which presents a splendid sight and attracts a number of visitors from all parts of China and the rest of the world.
Offer Your Condolences to Emperor Chongzhen
There is a famous cultural attraction in Jingshan Park — the spot where Emperor Chongzhen hanged himself. It is a very sad historic fact that Emperor Chongzhen (the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty) couldn't maintain his country anymore, so he hanged himself when Li Zicheng and his military army invaded Beijing.
Explore Traditional Chinese Architectures
As a typical Chinese-style garden, exploring Chinese architecture is also a worthwhile activity in Jingshan Park.
- Three gates: There are three gates at Jingshan Park, including Jingshan Gate (the south gate), Shanzuoli Gate (the east gate), and Shanyouli Gate (the west gate).
- One tower: There is a tower with a yellow glazed roof, named Qiwang Tower. It was built in 1750 and was a place for students to worship Confucius.
- Five pavilions: There are five pavilions in Jingshan Park, namely Guanmiao Pavilion, Zhoushang Pavilion, Wanchun Pavilion, Fulan Pavilion, and Jifang Pavilion.
- Three halls: There are three traditional Chinese-style halls called the Hall of Imperial Longevity, Yongsi Hall, and Guande Hall. The most famous hall is the Hall of Imperial Longevity, which was where was the emperors’ ancestors' tablets were stored.
- One barn: Xingqing Pavilion was a barn that was built to enable the emperor to plough and sow in the Yuan Dynasty.
How to Get to Jingshan Park:
West Gate: Take bus 5 or 58 and get off at Xibanqiao Station.
North Gate: Take bus 5 or 58 and get off at Jingshan Houjie Station.
East Gate: Take bus 58, 111, 124 or Sightseeing Bus 3 and get off at Jingshan Dongmen (the east gate of Jingshan Park) Station.
South Gate: Take bus 58, 101, 103, 109, 124, 128 or Sightseeing Bus 1, 2, or 3 and get off at Gugong (Forbidden City) Station.
Take Subway Line 8 to Shichahai Station. Get out from Exit C and then walk south for about 914m (1,000 yards) to the north gate of the park. From Shichahai Subway Station, visitors can also take bus 5, 60, 82, 107, 124, or Sightseeing Bus 3 to the park.
Bus / Subway Search
Jingshan Park – Royal Garden in Ancient China
Located in the north of Forbidden City, Jingshan Park is a royal court in the Yuan, Ming, Qing Dynasties. Famous as a royal garden in ancient China, Jingshan park has a long history of 800 years. Besides, as the highest place at that time, it’s also the center of Old Beijing. Formerly, Jingshan was a part of Forbidden City, while the walls were pulled down and road cut through, so now it’s independently standing at the peak.
The main buildings in Jingshan are: Three Garden Gate (Jingshan Gate, Left Gate, Right Gate), Qi Wang Tower for Confucius, Five Peak Pavilion, Shou Huang Palace behind Jingshan Hill, etc. Generally, you will climb all the way up the hill, then enjoy the sunning view of Forbidden city and overlook the entire city of Beijing. Anyway, the meaning to visit this royal park lies in the fact that we want you to experience the royal culture of old times in China. Meanwhile, it’s good to refresh your mind and slow yourself down in this beautiful park.
Located north ofthe Palace Museum,Jingshan Parkserved as an imperial garden during the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties, and has over 800 years of history so far.
The Middle Peak inside Jingshan Park is 44.6 meters tall, located in the center of Old Beijing’s inner city. It was also the tallest place of that time. The pavilion standing on top of the Middle Peak is named “Eternal Spring Pavilion”, where people can have a bird’s eye view of the entire capital city.
The main buildings of the park include: three garden gates (Jingshan Gate, Shanzuoli Gate, Shanyouli Gate), Qiwang Tower where Confucius is worshipped, five peak pavilions, Shouhuang Hall behind the back hill of Jingshan Hill and the eastern Yongsi Hall, Guande Hall and Huguo Loyalty Temple.
Another renowned cultural landscape inside the park isthe placewhere Emperor Chongzhen (the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty) hanged himself. ‘
The park features exhibitions of numerous peonies and Chinese herbaceous peonies in spring, summer and winter. The exhibited flowers will be very flourishing and gorgeous.
Jingshan has three meanings. The first meaning is tall and magnificent. The book Poetry – Yinwu says that there was a Jingshan in the capital city of the Shang Dynasty (in China) 3,000 years ago. The second meaning is that this was once the place where empresses viewed scenery. The third meaning is respect. In 1928, this garden was altered into a park.
Qiwang Tower was built in the 15th year of Emperor Qianlong’s reign (1750) during the Qing Dynasty, serving as the place where students studied here worshipped Confucius. During the period of the Republic of China, exhibitions were once held inside the tower. For example, on February 25, 1937, over 600 photos of Chinese antiques in the hands of the Britons were exhibited inside the tower.
The five peak pavilions lined in order from the east to the west are Guanmiao Pavilion, Zhoushang Pavilion, Wanchun Pavilion, Fulan Pavilion and Jifang Pavilion respectively. Initially each pavilion had one Buddha statue, and the five Buddha statues were generally named Five Flavor Gods and are not seen today. Standing inside Wanchun Pavilion, you can view the glistening palaces inside the Palace Museum, the Drum Tower standing on the axis of Beijing and the white tower insideBeihai Parkto the west.
On the eastern side of Jingshan there is a short old Chinese scholar tree inclined to the east. This is the place where Emperor Chongzhen Zhu Youjian hanged himself. At the end of the Ming Dynasty, the rebels led by Li Zicheng attacked and entered Beijing in March, 1644. On March 19, Emperor Chongzhen escaped to Jingshan and hanged himself on this skewed-necked Chinese scholar tree because he felt shamed and guilty of himself to his ancestors. During the Cultural Revolution, this old Chinese scholar tree was cut down as an old filthy part of the past. In 1981, a new antique Chinese scholar tree was transplanted to this place.
Shouhuang Hall is a place where emperors’ coffins were laid, their portraits stored, and their ancestors worshipped during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. During the Ming Dynasty, the hall was located in the northeast of Jingshan. During Emperor Qianlong’s reign the old hall was demolished but today’s Shouhuang Hall was erected, just located to the north of Jingshan on the axis of Beijing.
Today’s Jingshan Park is the place where the Beijing citizens who love singing gather to chorus. The songs they sing include Chinese folk songs and the revolution songs from 1950s to 1970s. In addition to them, there are also foreign songs, including European operas, Chinese opera excerpts and popular music.
Jingshan Park - History
Opening Hours: 06:30 – 20:00 (January, February, March, November and December)
06:00 - 21:00 (April, May, June, July, August, September and October)
Address: No. 44 Jingshan West Street, Xicheng District, Beijing.
Jingshan Park, occupying an area of about 23 hectares, is located right on the north-south central axial line of Beijing. It is connected to the Shenwu Gate of the Forbidden City to the south, and faces the Drum and Bell Towers to the north and is adjacent to Beihai Park to the west. Jingshan Hill is 45.7 meters high, and is the best place in downtown Beijing to have a panoramic view of Beijing and the Forbidden City. As early as in the Liao Dynasty, earth was piled here to form a hill in the Jin Dynasty, the place was designated as an imperial garden of the palace in the Yuan Dynasty, it became a palace garden of the imperial city, named Qingshan Hill in the Ming Dynasty, it was named the Wansui (longevity) Hill in the 12th year of the reign of Emperor Shunzhi of the Qing Dynasty (1655), it was later renamed Jingshan Hill. Then massive construction was carried out during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1749-1751) and projects such as Shouhuang Hall, Qiwang Tower, Guanmiao Pavilion, Zhoushang Pavilion, Wanchun Pavilion, Jifang Pavilion and Fulan Pavilion were constructed.
Jingshan Park is a beautiful and unique imperial garden, and was the place where the emperors appreciated flowers, shot arrows, drank and feasted, and climbed the hill to view scenery. In 1949 after the liberation of Beijing, the people’s government made a comprehensive renovation of Jingshan Park, repairing and maintaining the ancient architecture, rebuilding hill roads and park roads, planting trees and flowers, and adding service facilities, making this place a hot attraction for Chinese and foreign visitors. In 1957, it was named a major historic site under provincial protection, in 2001, it was announced as a major historic site under national protection, and in 2002, it was rated an AAAA scenic area.
The main peak, Jingshan Hill, 45.7 meters high (94.2 meters above sea level), was the center of the inner city of old Beijing, and was also the highest point then. The pavilion on the main peak, called Wanchun Pavilion, is a triple-eaved golden-glazed tile pavilion. Standing here, people can have a panoramic view of Beijing. There are two double-eaved green-tile octagonal pavilions, one on each side of Wanchun Pavilion. The one on the east side is called Guanmiao Pavilion, and the one on the west side is Jifang Pavilion. There are dome-shaped, double-eaved blue tile pavilions on the east and west ends of the hilltop called Zhoushang Pavilion and Fulan Pavilion respectively. The five pavilions form a beautiful pattern atop of the hill. The Shouhuang Hall at the rear of the hill was originally the place where emperors offered sacrifices to their ancestors, and is now temporarily used by the Beijing Children’s Palace. At the foot of the east slope of Jingshan Hill, there is an ancient leaning scholar tree. It is said that Emperor Chongzhen, the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty, hanged himself on this tree when the uprising farmer army, led by Li Zicheng, stormed into Beijing in 1644.
Apart from its flowers and views, the park is also remembered for a Chinese scholar tree that used to grow on the eastern slope of the hill. It was from this tree that the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Chongzhen, hung himself. The Emperor Chongzhen took shelter in the park in 1644, when Lizicheng took Beijing for the Manchu who were to found the Qing Dynasty. Having shamed his ancestors by his defeat, Chongzhen committed suicide by hanging himself on the Chinese scholar tree. The tree no longer survives as it was destroyed in subsequent upheavals.
Take Subway Line 5 to Dongsi Station. Get out from Exit C and then find bus 101 to Gu Gong (Forbidden City) Station. It is opposite to the north gate of the Forbidden City.
Take Bus No. 5 or 609 and get off at Jingshan Houjie Station or Xibanqiao Station
Take Bus No. 111, 124 or 210 and get off at Jingshan Dongmen
Take Bus No. 101, 103, 109, and 614 and get off at Gu Gong Station.
Hot Travel Routes: Tiananmen Square - Forbidden City - Jingshan Park - Beihai Park
Jingshan's history dates to the Liao and Jin dynasties, almost a thousand years ago. Γ] The 45.7-meter (150 ft) high artificial hill was constructed in the Yongle era of the Ming dynasty entirely from the soil excavated in forming the moats of the Imperial Palace and nearby canals. All of this material was moved by manual labor and animal power. Jingshan consists of five individual peaks, and on the top of each peak there lies an elaborate pavilion. These pavilions were used by officials for gathering and leisure purposes. These five peaks also draw the approximate historical axis of central Beijing.
The dictates of feng shui long praised tombs and residences sited south of a nearby hill, serving to channel both harmful yin and cold northern winds. With Jingshan serving that purpose, it gained the name Feng Shui Hill. It is also well known to locals as Coal Hill, from an old rumor that the emperors kept a hidden stash in the park. Δ]
The Chongzhen Emperor, the last ruler of the Ming dynasty, committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree in Jingshan in 1644 after Beijing fell to Li Zicheng's rebel forces.
Jingshan Park - History
- Tech & Sci
- Tech & Sci
Jingshan Park puts up Chinese New Year decorations. /VCG Photo
Visitors flock to Jingshan Park on January 25. /VCG Photo
Rows of lanterns hang on the trees in Jingshan Park. /VCG Photo
Visitors wander and take pictures in Jingshan Park. /VCG Photo
Chinese knots tied to the handrails of Wanchun Pavilion, Jingshan Park. /VCG Photo
Models of cartoon pigs in Chinese traditional costumes. /VCG Photo
The Temple of Earth puts up decorations for the upcoming temple fair. /VCG Photo
Chinese New Year decorations with Chinese character "Fu", meaning "prosperity" /VCG Photo
Paper lanterns hang on the trees in the Temple of Earth. /VCG Photo
Chinese traditional lanterns hang at the entrance. /VCG Photo
Chinese New Year decorations in the Temple of Earth. /VCG Photo
Red paper lanterns hang on the trees. /VCG Photo
Festive decorations in Badachu Park. /VCG Photo
Multi-colored Chinese oil-paper umbrellas along the path. /VCG Photo
A giant model of red calabash with Chinese characters "Fu" and "Lu", respectively meaning "prosperity" and "status". /VCG Photo
Layout of Jingshan Park
Inside Jingshan Park, an area of approximately 57 acres, is Jingshan Hill which rises to a height of 48 metres, and from its top visitors can oversight the entire city of Beijing.
On the summit of Jingshan Hill five scenery viewing pavilions were built, and from these the visitor can clearly see the layout of the Forbidden City. The highest pavilion is called Wanchun Pavilion (Ten thousand springs pavilion), and there are four other pavilions, two each on the east and west sides respectively of Jingshan Hill. Each of these pavilions contained a copper Buddha symbolizing the five kinds of tastes: acid, spicy, bitter, sweet and salty. However, in 1900 the Allied Forces of the Eight Powers looted four of these five Buddhas, and the fifth one was destroyed. The replacement Buddhas now seen in each pavilion were made in 1999.
By the north upper gate is the Beautiful View Pavilion (qiwanglou) where emperors would pay their respects at an altar to Confucius. Now, it serves as a cultural exhibition venue for paintings, calligraphy and porcelain. On the northern part of the hill is the Hall of Imperial Longevity (shouhuang), which has been transformed into the Beijing Children's Palace where youngsters can enjoy daily extracurricular activities in dancing, singing, music and art.
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