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Grand View Garden

An Introduction to Grand View Garden

The Grand View Garden is located at Xuanwu District, in southeast Beijing. It was built in 1984 and construction lasted five years. Unlike other such gardens, it was not built as a private or imperial garden, but as a site for the making of the TV series, A Dream of Red Mansions.

A Dream of Red Mansions is one of four famous Chinese novels, the others being Romance of the Three Kingdoms, The Water Margin and Journey to the West. The novel tells a tragic love-story in a noble family and is called by Westerners as the Romeo and Juliet of China. This important literary work, written by Cao Xueqin, follows the tragic love between Jia Baoyu and Lin Daiyu, and depicts the entanglement and conflicts between the father and the son, the brothers, wives and concubines, masters and servants. The saga depicts actual circumstances of the nature of a feudal society. In the novel, Jia Yuanchun, eldest daughter of the Jia family, is conferred as Yuan imperial concubine, and an extremely luxurious garden is built for her to live during her visit, hence the garden becomes the site where the tragic stories unfold.

The real-life garden occupies an area of 13 hectares (32 acres), a truthful representation of the fictitious extraordinary garden. Charming pavilions, twisting cloisters, thriving trees and flowers and lakes with clear ripples make up this dream-like place. The Yihong Courtyard where Jian Baoyu lives is magnificent; the Bamboo Lodge where Lin Daiyu lives is quite serene; and the house for Jia Yuanchun's temporary stay is quite imperial, elegant and radiant.

Permanent exhibitions in the garden make the literary masterpiece, A Dream of Red Mansions, familiar to the visitor. Many distinctive activities are held, like temple fairs and celebrations on the Mid-autumn Day. Grand performances, Yuan Concubine's Visit, are really a sparkle. The actors and actress in the ancient costumes give an excellent narration of specific plots from the novel. A scenic location in the northeast of the garden named Great Void Dreamland shows a movie which highlights scenes from the novel. Water-scene movies and performances are also given in the evening.

The most interesting points to visit in the park are the Enjoyment Red Hall, with its beautiful and colorful paintings, the quiet and graceful Xiaoxiang Hall, the Fragrant Rice Village, the Fragrant Lotus Pavilion, the Reed Snow Temple, and the Green Hill Garden. Performances are given at the Xingqinxing Hall, which is also an attraction.

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