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Fragrant Hills Park

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Introduction
Fragrant Hills Park located in the northwestern part of Beijing City,is an imperial garden at the foot of the Western Mountains. It was also formerly known as Jingyi Palace.It consists of a natural pine-cypress forest, hills with maple trees, smoke trees and persimmon trees, as well as landscaped areas with traditional architecture and cultural relics. The name was taken from the park's highest peak, Xianglu Feng which means Incense Burner Peak,The xiang in the name refers to incense, not fragrance per se. This name is perhaps derived from the name of the highest peak Xianglu feng 香炉峰, or "Incense-burner peak," the bronze-cast incense burner (with remote roots in ritual bronzes) being a common article found in temples. Indeed, incense was also often used as a metonym for temples.
Fragrant Hills Park is recognized as one of the major tourist attractions in Beijing. When autumn arrives, the natural scenery in the park turns spectacular, with fiery red smoke tree leaves covering the mountain side. Every year, thousands of tourists ride the cable cars through the park in order see the hills in autumn colors. The grand opening of the annual Red Leaf Festival of Beijing takes place there.

History
fragrant hill_01.jpgThe park was built in 1186 in the Jin dynasty (1115 to 1234) and expanded during the Yuan dynasty and Ming dynasty. In 1745, the Qianlong Emperor (1711–1799) of the Qing dynasty ordered the addition of many new halls, pavilions and gardens and gave it a new name, Jingyi Palace (Garden of Tranquility and Pleasure). Many of the relics in the park were damaged by foreign troops during two major attacks. In 1860, British troops set the Old Summer Palace ablaze, burning it to the ground along with the Gardens of Perfect Brightness, causing extensive damage to many relics in the park. Another attack in 1900 by the Eight-Nation Alliance caused destruction to the park and to the Summer Palace built by Empress Dowager Cixi. Since 1949, the Chinese government has been engaged in continuous restoration and development in the area.


Red Maple Festival at Fragrant Hill
Time: October
Place: Fragrant Hills Park
Red maple Festival, a grand festival that attracts hundreds of thousands of excited visitors every year, is held at Fragrant Hill. Between the middle of October and early November is the best time to enjoy the beauty of the red and yellow autumn leaves and the beautiful Fragrant Hill scenery. 

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Best places for maple leaf viewing
(1). Jingcui Lake: Through the east gate, enter Fragrant Hill Park and walk south. From there you will reach Jingcui Lake in only five minutes. The lake is the perfect, and closest place to view the red leaves.  As the lake is nearest to the gate, tourists save time and energy by going there. Mountains and water surround the lake, and the red autumn leaves stay around the longest there.

(2). Fragrant Hill Temple: In the prime of the Tang Dynasty, Fragrant Hill Temple was first constructed and is the birthplace of Fragrant Hill culture. In the late Qing Dynasty, the temple burned down and what remained was nothing but relics. However, tall old trees, stones decorated with exquisite fresco, and stone tablets carved with elegant calligraphy still tell us the history and retain the essence of the original Fragrant Hill Temple.Fragrant Hill Temple is rich in history and culture. Tourists can learn about its history while enjoying the natural beauty that surrounds, and seeing the red autumn leaves.


Information
Adimission Fee: CNY 10(Apr. 1 to Nov. 15); CNY 5( Nov. 16 to Mar. 31)
Cable Car: Available from 9:30 to 16:30,CNY 60 for single trip; CNY 20 for children below 1.2m.
Opening Hours: 6:00-19:00
Time for Visit: 4hours

How to get there
Bus Route: Take city bus No.318, 331, 360, 634, 714, 733, 737 to Xiangshan (Fragrant Hills Park, 香山公园)
Metro Route: Take Line 4 and get off at Beigongmen Station. Get out from Exit A and transfer to bus 563 to Xiangshan Gongyuan Dongmen (east gate of the Fragrant Hills Park) Station.

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