Nanhaizi: from imperial hunting ground to ecological park

Updated: 2019-02-11

Nanhaizi, 20 kilometers to the south of Beijing, used to be a royal hunting ground in the Liao (916-1125), Jin (1115-1234), Yuan (1271-1368), Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, and a royal animal farm in the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. Its beauty during autumn has made it one of the as top ten Beijing attractions since the Ming dynasty. In the Qing Dynasty Nanhaizi had an area of 216 square kilometers and was one of the three imperial power centers along with the Forbidden City and the royal gardens in western Beijing.

After renovation, Nanhaizi has become an ecological park, home to trees, grass, flowers and even deer—rarely seen in the capital.

Daxing district, where Nanhaizi is located, has built the biggest public wetland park with an area of 11.65 sq km. Embraced by a clear lake and forest, people can absorb Nanhaizi’s history and culture back to ancient times. A second phase of the park will be opened in July, 2019.

The district is also restoring and protecting cultural relics. That includes the inscribed stele of Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799), the Ningyou temple monument and the Nanhongmeng temporary imperial palace.

The elk living in Nanhaizi are a vivid example of China’s protection of wild animals. The area’s natural environment also makes it a candidate for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Daxing district aims to build Nanhaizi into a new brand of the ancient capital city, hoping it will one day be as famous as the National Palace.

The local government will sort out documents, study its history, and restore the old palaces and temples. It will also build a cultural expo for worldwide visitors. The Tuanhe temporary imperial palace, Deshou temple and Nanhongmeng temporary imperial palace are expected to become new landmarks in the central axis of Beijing.