Imperial gardens set for restoration

RESTORATION of Yuanmingyuan, or the ancient imperial garden ruins in northwest Beijing, is set to begin, the site's administration has announced recently.  

The restoration would start with Zhengjue Temple outside the Qichun Garden of Yuanmingyuan, also known as “Garden of 10,000 Gardens”, and the work would be done by Beijing Ancient Architecture Restoration Company, said Wei Baoshan, director of Yuanmingyuan Administration.  

Located in northwest Beijing, Yuanmingyuan was begun in 1709 and was finished in 1744. It was burned down by the British and French troops in 1860 and sacked and totally burned down again, after partly restored, in 1900 when the Eight-Power Allied Forces of Britain, the US, Germany, France, Russia, Japan, Italy and Austria occupied Beijing.  

Zhengjue Temple, built in 1773, is situated west of the main entrance of Qichun Garden where it survived both attacks. The temple was later converted into a factory which has since been located elsewhere.  

ALL DESTROYED: A young boy looking at the ruins of the old Summer Palace at the Yuanmingyuan park in Beijing on Sunday.- EPApic

The temple gate, a pavilion, four supporting halls and 26 ancient trees still survive.  

Wei said restoration of the temple would be carried out in two phases, and the entire task would be completed by September. Restoration of other relics inside Yuanmingyuan would then begin. There are over 40 separate ruins around Yuanmingyuan.  

“It is impossible to fully restore Yuanmingyuan to its original splendour as only 10% of the architecture above the ground could be restored or rebuilt.  

The total area of work is estimated at 17,000 sq m,” said Zong Tianliang, assistant to the director of Yuanmingyuan Administration. – People’s Daily  

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