Xingqing Palace Park
The Xingqing Palace Park is situated on the eastern outskirts of the ancient city of Xian. It was built on the former site of the Xingqing Palace of the Tang Dynasty
The site proper initially formed one part of the Longqing Fang (Fang refers to the living quarters) in the city of Chang'an. It also served as the official residence of Li Longji when he was made the crown prince. Later he became the Tang Dynasty Emperor Xuan Zong. His former residence was reconstructed into a palace named the Longqing Palace two years after he succeeded to the throne (721 AD). Before long, the Longqing Palace was renamed the Xingqing Palace, to avoid using the same character Long as in the Emperor's name. Extension work on the palace was undertaken once again in later years. As a result, parts of the neighbouring Fang, such as Yongjia, Daozheng, Xing'an and Shengye were successively absorbed by the palace. Emperor Xuan Zong began to administer state affairs here in 728 AD, and the palace consequently became the center of feudal dominations in the Tang Dynasty. in the year 753 AD, it was completed with its surrounding walls. The Xingqing Palace, the Taiji Palace and the Daming Palace were then known as the three interior palaces.
During the reign of Tianbao in the Tang Dynasty, the state became prosperous. The palace was rebuilt, all the more luxurious, and the gardens were tastefully planned. In the light of historical records, Emperor Xuan Zong once granted an interview to Persian Nestorian priests and Japanese friends at the Xingqing Palace. After An-Shi Rebellion (the rebellion was headed by An Lushan and Shi Siming, treacherous court officials; hence the name), the Xingqing Palace lost its importance in politics and became a palace where Emperor Xuan Zong lived after his abdication. The halls and buildings in the Xingqing Palace were almost totally destroyed through the chaos caused by war in the late Tang Dynasty and remained in ruins up to the beginning of the Ming Dynasty.
In 1957, in order to meet the recreation needs of the broad masses, the Municipal Government of Xi'an decided to build the Xingqing Park on the site of the Xingqing Palace of the Tang Dynasty.
The park now covers a total area of 50 hectares. The dark blue water ripples in the lake, the ground is tastefully decorated with verdant trees, blooming flowers and carpets of green lawns. The buildings such as the Chenxiang Pavilion, the Flower Shedding Brilliance Gallery, the Nanxun Hall, the Dragon-trying Hall and the Changqing Hall were reconstructed on their original sites in the architectural style of the Tang Dynasty, and their old names are still used. In order of promote the Sino-Japanese friendship, a monument, in memory of a Japanese friend, Chao Heng (his Chinese name), was erected several years ago. The main scenic attractions in the Xingqing Park are as follows
The Xingqing Lake.
The Xingqing Lake, the primary scenery in the park, is located in the centre of the park, and covers an area of ten hectares. It was equal to nearly 1\5 of the total are of the whole park. It was laid out on the site of the original Dragon Pool of the Xiangqing Palace in the Tang Dynasty. According to historical records, Emperor Xuan Zong used to go boating, sightseeing and feasting together with his concubines and officials here on the lake.
The ChenXiang Pavilion
It is said that the Chenxiang Pavilion was built with agolloth eagle-woods; hence its name, around the pavilion, there are varieties of precious flowers, such as tree and herbaceous peonies. Emperor Xuan Zong, together with his favorite concubine Yang Guifei, used to share the pleasure of appreciating flowers in bloom every year. He once met the famous poet, Li Bai here and asked him to improvise a poem about the peony blossom.
The Government Administration Building
The Government Administration Building is situated in the southwest corner of the Xingqing Palace. Emperor Xuan Zong named it the Government Administration Building just to indicate that he would be industrious in state affairs, and be concerned about the joys and sorrows of the people. He was one of the emperors who made the greatest achievements in Chinese history. During his early years in power, he roused himself, and vigorously acted to make the Tang Dynasty the most prosperous dynasty of all. The feudal society of China was thus led to its peak. At the very beginning, the Government Administration Building was the place where imperial affairs were dealt with the imperial examinations was held. Later it became the place for Emperor Xuan Zong to hold parties and give banquets. Especially, on the fifth day of the eighth lunar month, the Emperor's birthday, the palace would then be a bustling place, with all the officials offering birthday presents and the halls filled with various kinds of shows to make very one happy. Furthermore, there were also performances of elephants, rhinoceros and dancing horses. With the building facing the streets both to the south and to the west, common people came in large numbers to watch as well. As a result, the traffic was always heavy.
The Flower Shedding Brilliance Gallery
The Flower Shedding Brilliance Gallery was one of the main structures of the Xingqing Palace. Emperor Xuan Zong gained his imperial crown by staging a palace coup. To keep his brothers from doing the same thing, he had this building built in the Xingqing Palace. He gave it the name the Flower Shedding Brilliance Gallery, so it would serve as a metaphor to indicate that brothers ought to be dear to each other, and help each other, like the shedding of brilliance between flowers and calyxes. He often feasted and strolled about with his brothers here. Sometimes when it was far into night, he would put them up for the night here and spent the night together with them, so as to win them over.