ago there was a legend that to the east there existed a place that
was so deep, one could not see the bottom. To this place all the
rivers and oceans ran and disappeared. That area was also said to
contain the three islands of Peng-lai (a mythical Taoist paradise)
where fairy immortals lived. Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty, in an
attempt to obtain immortality. Had a large pond constructed to the
rear of his palace. Earth was heaped in the middle of the pond to
represent the Isles of Peng-lai. Similar construction was accomplished
by emperors of the Sui and Tang Dynasties when their palaces were
built. As the years progressed historical legend became the basis
for a style of garden construction which is uniquely Chinese and
rich in mythology and fantasy. Beihai Park's design was based on
Beihai (North Lake) is west of Jing Shan ("Coal
Hill"). The area is not only beautiful and scenic but is also
closely associated with the development of the city of Beijing.
During the Liao (947-1125 A.D.) and the Jin (1115-1234 A.D.) Dynasties,
secondary palaces were built here. Under the Yuan Dynasty (1280-1368
A.D.) Qiong Hua (Precious Jade) Island was renovated three times.
It was on this site that Kublai Khan's palace once stood which was
the place where Marco Polo stayed when he visited China. With the
palace as its center, more buildings were put up further out around
the lake so that it became the foundation of the inner city of Beijing.
lake and surrounding area are enclosed by walls. Before you enter
through the main gate you will see Round Town, on the left, enclosed
by a wall 14 ft. (5 m.) high. Originally an island, it now houses
the Hall of Receiving Light. Within you will find a white jade Buddha
(5 ft. or l.5 m. high) which is ethereal and lustrous, suggesting
sublime and transcendent repose. In the courtyard is the great Jade
Basin. Carved in 1265 A.D., this bowl measures approximately 5 ft.
(1.5m.) in diameter, 2 ft. (.6 m.) in height, and over 15 ft. (4.6
m.) in circumference. The Jade Basin was originally used at ceremonial
banquets from which the various ministers and dignitaries drank
Beihai Lake surrounds Qiong Hua Island which is 5,166 ft. (1,912
m.) in circumference. On the Island you will find many pavilions
and multi-storied buildings with colorful glazed tiles. Occupying
the whole center of the Island is the White Dagoba built in 1651
A.D. on the ruins of the original palace 119 ft. (35.9 m.) high.
If one climbs to the top of the hill on which it stands and gazes
out, the scenery near and far spreads itself out and it is a spectacular
On the northern shore of Beihai is the Pavilion
of the Five Dragons. Constructed in 1602 A.D. and jutting out over
the water, their reflections resemble five clusters of new flowers
blooming on the water's surface. Here you will also find the famous
Nine Dragon Screen. This Screen, or wall, is 87 ft. (26.5 m.) long
and over 15 ft. (4.6 m.) high. On both sides there are nine dragons
chasing a pearl amid the waves. The wall is made entirely of colorful
glazed tiles and one gets the feeling that each of the dragons is
about to break forth from the wall.
Cloud Taoist Temple
Center "Water Cube"
Stadium "Bird's Nest"