The Winter Palace in China is a rare destination for those who want to plunge themselves into Chinese history and culture. The Chinese emperors of Qing Dynasty collected many materials to build this “garden of gardens” (as it is referred to in modern times). You can also perceive some of the Western influences that worked well with this garden.
The Winter Palace was a combination of different gardens; each had its own features and characteristics. In fact the name “winter palace” is a modern day denomination for Yuan Ming Yuan. The Chinese emperors built it into three different sections: Yuan Ming Yuan or Garden of Perfect Splendor, Chang Chun Yuan or Garden of Eternal Spring and Qi Chun Yuan or Garden of Gorgeous Spring.
Together the Winter Palace covered over 350 hectors of land. 1709 was the year when the first steps towards building the garden were taken. It took over 150 years to complete. The garden required many skillful craftsmen, materials, resources, filling up of lakes and planting many precious trees. The Winter Palace contained as many as 145 large buildings and over 40 domestic and international resorts.
All those buildings and resorts contained books of rare collection, a good number of artistic treasures and valuable antiques. The buildings were constructed both in Chinese and Western styles. The Chang Chun garden had western-style building groups and it also had a fountain, a maze and European palaces. You can see Renaissance influence on these buildings.
But Winter Palace was ultimately destroyed by the joint attack of British and French forces in late October of 1860. According to reports both of these armies plundered and looted all the valuable things and then set the whole garden on fire. The garden burnt for three whole days.