Yuanmingyuan Ruins Park offers free entry on 161st anniversary of destruction

2021-10-18 Ecns.cn

(ECNS) -- Yuanmingyuan Ruins Park, or the Old Summer Palace, opened to the public free of charge on Monday to commemorate the 161st anniversary of its destruction, according to the park's official social media account.

Built in 1707 during the reign of Kangxi Emperor (1661-1722) and expanded during Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Yuanmingyuan was the main imperial residence of Qing emperors and once spread over 350 hectares. It was reputed as the "Garden of Gardens" because of its various architecture styles and numerous art and historical treasures.

On Oct. 18, 1860, Anglo-French forces invaded Beijing and burned down the Old Summer Palace during the Second Opium War. Buildings were razed to the ground and countless cultural relics were looted, leading Yuanmingyuan to gradually fall into ruin.

At present, many cultural relics remain overseas. According to UNESCO estimates in 2006, a total of 47 museums around the world possess about 1.6 million Chinese relics, including one million from the Old Summer Palace alone.

In 1988, Yuanmingyuan Park was named among of the third batch of national key cultural relic protection sites in China.

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