Purple Bamboo Garden is located at the south edge of Bai Shi Qiao Road in Hai Dian District, Beijing City. With its eastern gate directly across the street from Capital Gymnasium, the park, which is called Zizhuyuan Park in Chinese, is one of the seven largest parks in Beijing.
The Purple Bamboo Garden is featured by a large variety of bamboos. There are more than 54 bamboo species with more than 500,000 bamboos planted here. Among them the most famous one is the purple bamboo with a large amount. The park has a total area about 140,000 square meters including three lakes and two islets with bamboos standing everywhere.
The Purple Bamboo Garden has a long history. According to early records, before the third century it formed the upper reaches of the Gaoliang (Sorghum) River with a famous Gaoliang Bridge stood nearby to the east. In the Ming Dynasty, the bridge was a favorite spot for city people on the Tomb-sweeping Day, when young girls riding in horse-drawn carts, and city folk competing with drums and banners. In the 13th century, the lakes inside the garden were served as reservoirs providing an important part of Beijings water supply. In the late Yuan Dynasty, the mathematician and irrigationist Guo Shoujing built a canal along the upper reaches of the Gaoliang River with locks to regulate the water diverted from the White River Dam, the Jade Spring Mountain, and other nearby waterways. Later, however, the lake was neglected and gradually became silted up. During the Republican period it was filled in and rented out as paddy fields.
Besides, in the Ming dynasty, a Buddhist temple was built in the Purple Bamboo Garden as an extending part of the Wanshou Temple (Longevity Temple). While in Qing dynasty, the complexes in the Purple Bamboo Garden were served as a lodging palace or a resting place for the imperial family when they were floating to the Summer Palace or the Jade Spring Mountain on the Changhe River. However, nowadays all that remains of the original temple are two stone stelae and traces of two landing platforms on the banks of the river.
After the founding of the PRC, the Beijing government has planed to rebuild the park. Since 1952, the government has rebuilt the park with the lakes, bridges, pavements and some pavilions. Many flowers and bamboo trees are also planted in the park. Lancuiting is a pavilion built in the Zhongshan islet. Since it was placed in a high place, people can get the panoramic view of the whole park. In 1981, on the eve of the May Day, a new two-story 1,000-square-meter waterside complex was built and opened to the public on North Mountain Islet. It consists of the Purple Bamboo Pavilion, the Gallery for Watching the Moon, a winding walkway that leads out over the water, and a square pavilion that are harmonious with the surrounding environment. Today, with the fresh air and the beautiful sceneries, it becomes a major park for leisure and holiday tour. Whatmore, it is rather an ideal place for those who are fond of bamboos.
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