Brief Introduction of the Old Summer Palace (Ruins of Yuanmingyuan)
The Old Summer Palace (Ruins of Yuanmingyuan) is a popular tourist attraction in Beijing. It has beautiful lakes, ruins of the old palace and lotus blossoms. Blending typical Chinese landscaping and Western architecture, the garden was described as the “Versailles of the East.”
The Old Summer Palace (Ruins of Yuanmingyuan) was first constructed in the year of 1709 during the reign of the Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty. As an Imperial Garden in Qing Dynasty, it took 150 years to build, consisted of extensive collection of gardens and architectures. Unfortunately, the palace was destroyed in 1860 and some of its more spectacular fragments can be seen in the British museum in London.
The huge number of separate gardens enable you to enjoy some quiet and peace. It’s one of the harmonious places in Beijing, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. You can easily spend half day, walking through the Parkland, taking boat tours, visiting the maze, seeing the ruins of the Old Summer Palace and much more. It’s a great way to create memories when you’re in Beijing.
The Old Summer Palace (Ruins of Yuanmingyuan) is located northwest of Beijing and to the east of the present-day Summer Palace, near Peking University.
25 CNY for an adult – students half-price, 10 CNY for kids above 1.2 M. Free for kids under 1.2m.
Daily 8am-7pm (Apr-Oct); 8am-5.30pm (Nov-Mar) Cash only
What To See
Unlike the new Summer Palace, the Old Summer Palace offers nice stroll through historic ruins and the beauty of nature. You will find excellent gardens, lakes, the ruins of the old palace, and flowers in full bloom starting April all through Fall. To reach the ruins, you have to walk about 1km and halfway through the south gate.
The Old Summer Palace (Ruins of Yuanmingyuan) covers a huge area, so be prepared for a lot of walking. You can always relax on the benches along the way, when you are tired from walking. The boat trip is peaceful and saves some walking, and cover the whole area within half a day.
It’s very helpful to rent an audio guide since the entire place is in ruins, there’s less to appreciate if you don’t know how the place looked before. The audio guide has not only a GPS-guided map, excellent storytelling, also digitally reconstructed images/videos to give you a peculiar view of the ruins. Take a stroll through the beautiful gardens and enjoy the beauty of one of the most memorable tourist attractions in Beijing.
How to Get There
Take Subway Line 4 and get off at Yuanmingyuan Station. Get out from Exit B and you can see the south gate of the park.