Coal Hill Park also called Jinshan (literally “Prospect Hill”) is an artificial hill in Beijing.Covering an area of more than 230,000 m², Jingshan is immediately north of the Forbidden City on the central axis of Beijing. Originally an imperial garden, it is now a public park.
The 45.7-metre high artificial hill was constructed in the Yongle era of the Ming Dynasty entirely from the soil excavated in forming the moats of the Imperial Palace and nearby canals. It is especially impressive when one considers that all of this material was moved only by manual labor and animal power. Jingshan consists of five individual peaks, and on the top of each peak there lies an elaborate pavilion. These pavilions were used by officials for gathering and leisure purposes. These five peaks also draws the approximate historical axis of central Beijing.
According to the dictates of Feng Shui, it is favorable to site a residence to the south of a nearby hill (and it is also practical, gaining protection from chilly northern winds). The imperial palaces in the other capitals of previous dynasties were situated to the south of a hill. When the capital was moved to Beijing, no such hill existed at this location, so one was constructed. It is popularly known as Feng Shui Hill. It is also known as Coal Hill, a direct translation of its old popular Chinese name (Chinese: 煤山; pinyin: Méishān).
The last emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Chongzhen, committed suicide by hanging himself here in 1644.
Jingshan is especially a popular place for elderly people socializing and gathering. One can often find elderly folks dancing, singing opera and doing other cultural activities, such as kuai ban, at Jingshan.
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