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Beihai Park Picture
Beihai Park is one of the most popular parks in the city of Beijing. It covers a total area of over 68 hectares, more than half of it is taken up by the lake. Located northwest of the Forbidden City, this park has an 800-year history as the royal garden -- and playground -- of the Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. It is used to be the former palace of the emperors in successive dynasties, called the Winter Palace by Westerners. Early in the 10th century, the Liao dynasty a secondary imperial palace and an island (Jade Islet) were built here. It was expanded by digging a lake, adding more palace halls when Jin Empire took over; during the Yuan dynasty was rebuilt three times. The Ming and the Qing saw more construction and renovation: The Five Dragon Pavilions and the Nine-dragon Screen and pavilions were added. A White Dagoba, an onion-shaped shrine pagoda in Tibetan style, was erected in honor of the fifth Dalai Lama's visit to Beijing in 1651.
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