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Old Summer Palace   

old summer palace beijingLocated in the northwestern suburbs of Beijing next to the Summer Palace, Old Summer Palace is now a theme park with lots of ruins of the former imperial garden in the Qing Dynasty. It covers an area of about 350 hectares.

The Old Summer Palace lies in total ruin, blasted into fragments by the Anglo-French invasion force during the 1860 Opium War. The sprawling compound has an aura of faded glory like the Roman Forum. Its ruined pathways, gutted pavilions, and unruly vegetation fill the place with a "sublime" horror.

Yuanmingyuan was composed of three separate gardens: Yuanmingyuan (Garden of Perfect Splendor), Changchunyuan (Garden of Eternal Spring), Qichunyuan (Garden of Blossoming Spring).

The palace was first surveyed in the 12th century and had been developed into a network of gardens by the time of Emperor Qianlong's reign in the late 18th century. Then at his request, Jesuit architects designed structures in a European baroque vocabulary, including the 10,000 Flowers Maze.

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Old Summer Palace Photos