Beijing in perspective: The view from Jingshan Park

Updated: 2016-05-31 15:31

By Ian Callison(

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Beijing in perspective: The view from Jingshan Park

[Photo by Ian Callison/]

For someone new to Beijing, the city’s scale can be hard to grasp. One can read about how many years old or how many miles wide Beijing is, or the number of buildings that are within the Forbidden City. On paper, though, these numbers are just too big to wrap one’s head around.

Jingshan Park puts these figures into perspective. The park, positioned just north of the Forbidden City in Dongcheng Central, comprises flower-filled gardens, ornate gates, and meandering pathways. At the center, a 47.5-meter (100 foot) high hill, topped with brightly colored and elaborately decorated pavilions, overlooks the Forbidden City.

I visited Jingshan Park on a whim within my first few days in Beijing. After a late start to a Saturday, I didn’t have enough time to explore the Forbidden City itself, but still wanted to catch a glimpse of it. Despite the large weekend crowd, an entrance fee of only 2 Yuan and a great view made Jingshan Park worth the visit.

The climb to the hill's peak was both brief and enjoyable, with plenty of stairs to make the steeper parts manageable. The hill, one of the only elevated landforms in the otherwise flat Beijing, is man-made, a pile of earth left from digging the Forbidden City's moat.

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