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4 Zhonghua Lu
HOURS: Winter 6:30 a.m.-8 p.m., summer 6 a.m.-9 p.m.
METRO: Tian’anmen West (Line 1)
Almost every Chinese town and city has a road or a park named Zhongshan after Sun Yat-sen, the founder of Republican China. Beijing’s Zhongshan Park sits southwest of the Forbidden City and contains the emperors’ ancestral temples, where Ming and Qing rulers made offerings to ensure a good harvest.
The Altar of Earth and Harvests was built by the Ming Dynasty Yongle Emperor in 1421 inside the imperial garden. Open to the public since 1914, the park is now a popular spot for matchmaking parents seeking to marry off their adult children.
It was originally known as Central Park before taking the Mandarin name of Sun Yat-sen in 1928. The park also contains the Forbidden City Concert Hall.
© Susie Gordon from Moon Beijing & Shanghai, 2nd Edition