JingShan Park lies directly north of the Forbidden City. It is 57 acres in area.
The park first appeared around 1180 during the Jin Dynasty, although in imperial times the park was for the exclusive use of the emperor.
The park is centered around a hill - the only one in Beijing city. This artificial hill was constructed entirely from the soil and rocks excavated in forming the moats of the Forbidden City and nearby canals around 1420. This is especially impressive when one considers that all of this material was moved by hand, using only animal power.
The hill is 48m high - this doesn't seem very high but because Beijing is otherwise flat, the top offers good views, including the Forbidden City directly to the south.
According to the dictates of Feng Shui, it is favorable to site a residence to the south of a hill (gaining protection from chilly northern winds). Hence the hill is popularly known as 'Feng Shui Hill'. It is also known as 'Coal Hill', a direct translation of its old Chinese name (MeiShan) from a time when coal was stored around it. In 1655, during the Qing Dynasty, the name was changed to JingShan. 'Shan' means hill or mountain in chinese.
On the summit of JingShan Hill are five scenery viewing pavilions. The highest pavilion is called WanChun Pavilion ('Ten Thousand Springs' pavilion). There are four others - two each on the east and west sides. Originally, each of these pavilions contained a copper Buddha symbolizing the five kinds of taste: acid, spicy, bitter, sweet and salty. However, in 1900 the Allied Forces of the Eight Powers looted four of these five Buddhas, and the fifth was destroyed.
It is said that the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty, ChongZhen, committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree here in 1644.
In the north of the park is ShouHuangDian (Hall of Imperial Longevity) where the portraits of ancestors were housed, YongSiDian (Hall of Everlasting Memory) and GuanDeDian (Hall of Morals Observation), which were used as mourning place for deceased emperors during the Qing Dynasty. At present, ShouHuangDian and GuanDeDian are used as a Children's Palace and Library.
Like TianTan Park, JingShan Park is very popular with locals who gather in many groups to exercise, play music, sing and dance, especially on Sunday evenings here.
JingShan is famous for its peonies. The best time for viewing the more than 200 varieties of peonies inside the park is from late April to mid-May.
Opening Hours: 06:00 to 21:30.