Prince Gong’s Mansion
Prince Gong’s Mansion, built in 1777, was the residential house of Prime Minister He Shen during the reign of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty but was later granted to Emperor Xian Feng’s brother Yi Xin, Prince Gong. Prince Gong’s Mansion is the largest and best-preserved of the many official mansions in Beijing. It contains residential houses and gardens, covering 60,000 square metres.
The buildings in Prince Gong’s Mansion were strictly set up along three axial lines on the east and west and in the middle, which linked many houses along the axis as courtyards. Its architecture represents the manner and dignity of the imperial family, yet retains the delicate decorative styles of ordinary folk and families. It even adopted some western architectural ideas. The Western Style Gate, Grand Theatre and the Blessing Stele written by Emperor Kangxi are three excellent attractions. The mansion’s gardens reflect the accumulated gardening wisdom of South and North China. It is said that the mansion was the prototype of the grand mansion in the Chinese classic A Dream of Red Mansions.
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