Jingshan Hill ("Coal
Going through the Gate of Divine Prowess, the
northern end of the Imperial Palace, you will come to Jingshan Hill.
It is in the heart of Beijing's inner city and the highest elevated
point of old Beijing. Originally there was only a small hill located
here (Qing Shan or Green Hill) but at the beginning of the fifteenth
century, when the Imperial Palace was being built, unnecessary dirt
when constructing the moat was heaped on Qing Shan and five peaks
were created. The name Coal Hill (Mei Shan) comes from the fact
that coal was once stored here.
When you first enter the grounds you will see
Beautiful View Tower. Looking up, you will see five eighteenth-century
pavilions, one on each of the five peaks. On the middle peak stands
the largest pavilion, the three-story Pavilion of Ten Thousand Springs.
This can be reached by a path up the side of the hill and the view
from the top is magnificent, coupling not only a view of the Imperial
Palace but also modern-day Beijing. At the foot of the hill stands
the tree that legend tells us is where the last Ming Emperor, Chong
Zhen, hanged himself in 1644 A.D. when his enemies forced the gates
of the capital.