Beihai Park is one of the oldest and best-preserved imperial gardens in China. It was created during the Jin Dynasty, more than 1000 years ago. It was the centre of the city layout of the Yuan Dynasty’s Grand Capital.
Beihai Park includes Qiongdao Island and the East Shore and North Shore scenic areas. It combines the magnificent style of North China’s gardens and the delicate style of South China’s gardens. Trees and bushes, palace halls and pavilions cover Qiongdao Island. The White Dagoda, built in 1651, stands as the landmark centre of the park. Around the lake’s willow-treed shoreline, tourists can view or ride in gaily-painted pleasure-boats, the Quiet Heart Studio, Hall of Heavenly Kings, Kuaixue Hall, Nine-Dragon Screen, Five-Dragon Pavilions and Minor Western Heaven. The Circular City in Beihai Park may be the smallest castle in the world; inside it are found the White Jade Buddha, Jade Jar of Dushan and towering ancient pine trees that were planted during the Jin Dynasty. The famous Fangshan Restaurant, located in the Yilan Hall, serves authentic imperial dishes to public that were once the exclusive, privileged fare of imperial families.
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