Jing Shan Park is located in the capital axis of north and south, linking to Shenwu Door of Forbidden City in the south, to Bell and Drum Tower in the north, and to Baihai Park in the west. It covers an area of 23 hectares, and the hill is 43 meters high. It is the best place to ascend a height and look down at the capital city of Beijing, and view and admire a panorama of the Forbidden City. A large-scale expanding construction was carried on in the period of the reign of Qianlong of Qing Dynasty. Coal Hill Park is a graceful and unique imperial garden.
In as early as Jin Dynasty, earth was piled up to form hills and Yuan Dynasty opened it up as an imperial place named Qingshan (Green Mountain). During the reign of Yongle in Ming Dynasty, people heaped up muds and mucks from the city moat digging and walls removal to a huge earth hill named Wansuishan (Long Live Hill). It was renamed Jing Hill in the 12 th year of Shunzhi in Qing Dynasty (1655) and saw large-scale expansion during the reign of Qianlong (1749 to 1751 ) with buildings of Shouhuang Hall, Qiwang Tower, Guanmiao Pavilion, Zhoushang Pavilion, Wanchun Pavilion, Jifang Pavilion and Fulan Pavilion. The emperors used to enjoy flowers, shot arrows, gave banquets and climb for sight in this elegant imperial garden.
Since the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the Government has built many structures for the providing of services, and has also repaired some of the ancient buildings. In addition, many tall trees have been planted inside the park to restore it to its former beauty.
In recent years many shows have been held in the Jingshan Park, where there have been exhibitions of fish and flowers, notably the beautiful peonies for which the Park is famous. The best time for viewing the more than 200 varieties of peonies inside the park is from late April to mid-May. Visitors will really enjoy these displays.
Entering the front gate, you come to Qiwanglou (Chamber of Beautiful Expectation), which stands with its back to the hill 43 metres high. In the old days there was a Confucius' shrine in the building, where the Qing officials and scholars paid their respects to him. It is now a gift shop.
On your way up the hill from the eastern slope, you will come across a locust tree right below the Wonderful View Pavilion. There was formerly an old locust tree from which the last Ming emperor Chongzhen hanged himself when a peasant army led by Li Zicheng broke into Beijing in 1644. A new tree has been planted to mark the site.
On top of the hill, you will find the park located on the meridian line. It starts from Yongdingmen Gate at the southernmost city limit and runs northward through the Front Gate, Tian'anmen, and the Forbidden City to the Everlasting Spring Pavilion and leads on to the Drum Tower and Bell Tower to the north. Looking southward on a bright sunny day, the yellow glazed-tile roofs of the Forbidden City glitter like thousands of gilded fish-scales under the sun. To the southwest lie the North Sea, Middle Sea and the South Sea. Further to the west is the White Dagoba that emerges on the island in Beihai Park like a maiden in her white sari, pretty, elegant and graceful. At night, the scene is unusually striking.
Behind the hill is Shouhuangdian (Hall of Imperial Longevity) where the portraits of the ancestors of the Qing court were housed. To its east is Guandedian (Hall of View of Virtue) used as a temporary resting-place for deceased emperors before burial.