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The Fragrant Hill

\Fragrant Hill (Xiang Shan) is one of the most beautiful sights in Beijing, winning its name from the maple leaves turning brightly red in autumn.

In 1186, in the Jin Dynasty, the Fragrant Hills Temple was built and terraces, pavilions and pagodas were added by the subsequent dynasties. The area was later converted into a park and was named the Park of Tranquility and Pleasure.

Along with Yuanmingyuan and the Summer Palace, the park was twice destroyed in 1860 and in l900. The destruction was so serious that the reconstruction efforts made in the later years were never able to restore its original scale and splendour. After l949, large-scale restoration took place and now the Fragrant Hill is a popular place in late autumn for holiday-makers when the maple leaves redden. The brilliant foliage is the main attraction. No one is sure where the sumac trees originated. Legend has it that a south wind carried the seeds of the red-leaf trees to Beijing. Then the seeds survived, and years passed they grew into a lovely forest. Another story goes that the sumacs were transplanted to the area by Emperor Qianlong (1736--1795) of the Qing Dynasty. In November, the frosted leaves of the trees, along with the persimmons and maples, spread over the grant Hills like a thick red blanket.

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Jing ICP Record No.08105532-2