Free evening tour of Old Summer Palace for Lotus Festival

13:14, July 05, 2010      

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Lotuses are in full bloom at the Old Summer Palace. Photo:

Lotuses are in full bloom again at the Old Summer Palace.

The Old Summer Palace, or Garden of Eternal Brightness, is holding its 15th annual Lotus Festival. The event runs from July 11 to Aug. 31, coinciding with the peak of the blooming water lilies and lotuses.

The gardens are open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. from Monday through Thursday. On Friday and on the weekends, the gardens stay open until 8:30 p.m., and admission is free after 7 p.m.

Originally called the Imperial Gardens, the Old Summer Palace was a set of palaces and gardens built in the 18th and early 19th centuries where the emperors of the Qing Dynasty resided and handled government affairs.

The Imperial Gardens were destroyed by British and French troops in 1860 during the Second Opium War. Today, destruction of the gardens is still regarded as a symbol of foreign aggression and humiliation in China.

A yellow lotus flower in full bloom at the Old Summer Palace. (Photo Source:

How to get there:

The Old Summer Palace, Yuanming Yuan in ChinesePinyin, is located 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) northwest of the walls of the Forbidden City. Take Subway Line 10 to Haidian Huangzhuang and then transfer to Subway Line 4. The Old Summer Palace is just outside of the Yuanming Yuan Station.

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