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Gongwangfu

beautiful Gate in GongwangfuGongwangfu (Mansion of Prince Gong) is situated at Liuyin Street, Xicheng District. It was originally the private mansion of He Shen, a favorite minister of Qing Emperor Qianlong. He Shen's house and property was confiscated due to his corruption, so his private mansion was given to Prince Qing. Later,  Emperor Xianfeng bestowed it on Yi Xin, the Prince of Gong. Since then it has been known as the Gongwangfu. As one of the best preserved of all Qing Dynasty princely mansions in Beijing, Gongwangfu is the national protected important cultural relic unit.

Gongwangfu

Covering an area of 57,000 square meters, the Gongwangfu consists of two parts: the former residence of the prince in the front, and a finely built garden at the rear. Both of the buildings and garden were extremely luxurious. In so far as horticultural style is concerned, Gongwangfu has already the salient features of an imperial garden.

The former residence in Gongwangfu has a total of 31, 000 square meters, and all buildings were laid out on three axis lines the eastern, central and western - in traditional Chinese style. Main structures include Duofuxuan (House of Multitudinous Blessings), Ledaotang(Hall of Joyous Virtue), Grand Theater, Baoguangshi (Hall of Light), Xijinzhai (Studio of Granting Promotions), and so on. Among them, the Xijinzhai, built completely with nanmu and decorated finely, was modeled after Leshoutang (Hall of Happiness and Longevity) of the Forbidden City. The Grand Theater is 685 square meters in area, whose doors are latticed and painted with vermilion lacquer. The interior decoration is splendid and in unique patterns of wistaria trellises linked with purple flowers. The floor is paved in square brick and the seats consist of old-fashioned wooden armchairs furnished with square tables. This theater is the best preserved and only opera theater in an imperial residence open to the public in Beijing.

Garden In Gongwangfu

The three complexes are screened by a 160-meter-long two-storied Houzhao-lou (Back-Cover Tower)at the rear, behind which is the garden named Cuijin-yuan (Emerald Grace Garden). The garden in Gongwangfu covers a total of 26,000 square Garden in Gongwangfumeters including a 1,584-square-meter pool. Winding corridors, pleasant-looking kiosks and pavilions, as well as piled rocks are scattered in the midst of luxurious flowers and trees in the garden, forming 20 or so scenic spots. The garden blends the style of the lower Yangtze valley with the architectural pattern of the north, and incorporates elements of Western architecture into a classical Chinese garden style. It is reputed as the "Pear of Shishahai Lake".

The front section of the garden contains a hill made of piled stones, an ancient wall, the Liubeiting (Floating-Cup Pavilion), the Feilaifeng (Peak Flying form afar)and Cuiyunling(Ridge of Green Cloud). The rear section of the garden has a multileveled artificial hill built of Rocks of Taihu Lake, which beam a stone tablet inscribed with the Chinese character "fu" (happiness) in the calligraphy of Emperor Kangxi. Yaoyuetai (Platform of Inviting Moon), lying on the top of the rockery, is the highest point in this garden. During the Mid-Autumn-Festival, it is an ideal place for enjoying the entrancing full moon. Standing to the north of the artificial hill is a reading-room elaborately constructed of bamboo. It consumes the shape of a bat, and that is why it is called Bat Hall.

Since the Gongwangfu is designed magnificently and constructed ingeniously with complementary buildings and terraces, well spaced vegetation and hill paths that wind their way around cool and tranquil grottos, it has been taken as the Rongguofu (Mansion of Glorious Nation) and Daguanyuan (Grand View Garden) of the A Dream of Red Mansions, one of the Four Great Classics of Chinese Literature.

 

Gongwangfu Tour

Gongwangfu is one of the prince's mansions and gardens with higher artistic value and one of the elaborate works left by China's ancient garden designers, so it is really worth visiting during the Beijing tour.