About Jingshan Park
Jingshan Park in Beijing, China, started life as an imperial garden in Ming Dynasty era during the reign of Emperor Yongle. The park has often been called ‘Coal Hill’ due to locals believing the emperors kept a hidden stockpile of coal at the hill.
The intention in building the hill in Jingshan Park – a feat undertaken with a combination of manual labour and animals alone – was to protect Beijing from evil spirits.
Jingshan Park history
Jingshan dates back to the Liao and Jin dynasties, who ruled China over a millennia ago. However, it was under the 15th century Yongle Emperor of the Ming Dynasty that the 45 metre-high artificial hill was built. Made entirely of soil dug to create the moats of the Imperial Palace, as well as nearby canals, all of the soil was moved painstakingly by men and animals.
The 5 individual peaks of Jingshan Park were each topped with an elaborately decorated pavilion, used by imperial officials for meetings as well as leisure.
Jingshan Park today
Visitors to Jingshan Park can see numerous historic structures including the holy Hope Tower or ‘xiwanglou’, the coffins of the members of the Qing Dynasty at the Visiting Virtue Hall or ‘Guandedian’ and the site where the final emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Chongzhen, hung himself from a Chinese scholar tree (although the tree is no longer there).
Views from the top of the park stretch across Beijing. The park has also become a popular social spot amidst the bustling city streets – with people dancing, singing and telling stories via the tradition of kuaiban.
Getting to Jingshan Park
Just north of the Forbidden City, Jingshan Park has 4 entrances easily reached via public transport. The south entrance is located across Jingshan Front Street from the Forbidden City and is accessible by bus routes 101, 103, 109, 124, 202, 211, 609 and 685.
The west entrance on Jingshan West Street and Doushan Street is a short walk from the east gate of Beihai Park and is accessible by Bus routes 5 and 609. Trolleybus routes 111 and 124 stop at the east entrance.