Latest News:  


Old Lotus Pond ripples with history

By Erik Nilsson (China Daily)

10:39, July 25, 2013

The Old Lotus Pond is known as one of the country's 10 most famous gardens. (China Daily)

>> Top 10 private gardens in China

The Old Lotus Pond is perhaps China's most likely historical site to have developed an identity crisis.

The grounds — one of the country's "10 most famous gardens" — in Hebei province's Bao-ding has constantly changed names and functions since Runan King Zhang Rou built it as his private "Snow Fragrance Garden" in 1227. It later became the Shuijian Government Office.

During the Yongzheng period of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), governor Li Wei built the Lotus Pond Academy — also known as the Academy of Classical Learning — in 1773.

Qing ruler Qianlong reconfigured it into the Emperor's Palace in 1745. The construction of towers and pavilions by Zhili provincial governor Fang Guancheng added a more mystical moniker — The Fabled Abode of the Immortals.

Many of those structures were torched by British, French, German and Italian invaders, who looted relics and burned what remained in October 1900.

That might explain why the Lian Ye Tuo Tao stone inscription is believed to scorn Empress Dowager Cixi for fleeing Beijing the night those four countries joined other members of the Eight-Nation Alliance to invade the capital about two months beforehand. The garden's other calligraphic stone etchings about rulers are by them or venerating — rather than deriding — them.

Two Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) tablets are the oldest remaining relics.

The destroyed sections have never been fully restored. But renovations from 1988 to 2009 have removed many scars.

And, as a garden, a hefty dose of charm stems from flora rather than structures and history. The grounds are a manicured plot of twisting cypresses, cascading willows and bristling gingkoes. Of course, the centerpiece is the water body plated with lily pads and popping with blooms.

Today, the garden — best seen from the panoramic views offered by the Shuidong Building — sprawls over 30,000 square meters centered around the Lotus Pond from which the garden takes its name — at least its latest one.

We recommend:

Graduation season never comes back

Ways to spend happy summer vacation

The story behind models at auto show

Best scenery photos of week

Realizing Chinese Dreams through porcelain

Bashang Grassland in summer

Highlights of global stewardesses' uniform

Yu Weiwei crowned Miss World China 2013

Chinese model crowned at 8th Asian Super Contest

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:DuMingming、Ye Xin)

Leave your comment0 comments

  1. Name


Selections for you

  1. Bombers in real-combat drill

  2. Live fire drill of PLA Artillery Forces

  3. New prince makes first appearance

  4. Young graduates, owners of online shop

  5. The sand painting dream of a girl

  6. Dog survives after 30 hours buried in debris

  7. 29 gorgeous castles from around the world

  8. Press of 'Crimes of Passion'

  9. China builds 'world's tallest building'

  10. Huawei H1 sales revenue up 10.8 pct

Most Popular


  1. Feeble Japanese-Philippine 'axis' doomed
  2. Is high cost of studying abroad worthwhile?
  3. Central bank has limited role in real economy
  4. Ways to help labor working better
  5. Feeding Kenya through organic farming
  6. Filmmaker: Chinese like good movies set anywhere
  7. Multinationals' dependence on China grows
  8. Skipping breakfast may increase heart disease risk
  9. Economic restructuring helps China's growth
  10. New thinking needed for Korean crisis

What’s happening in China

Dog survives after 30 hours buried in debris

  1. Retailer pulls knives after fatal attack
  2. Food safety insurance for wedding feasts
  3. Court upholds death sentence for baby killer
  4. HPV vaccines among Chinese still a long way off
  5. Shanghai getting tougher on blood clam ban