Wanchun Pavilion 万春亭
An easy virtual cache in the heart of Beijing with spectacular views in every direction.
Are your feet getting tired from walking around the Forbidden City? Too bad! You're not done yet. Once you've had a good look at the past home of China's emperors, exit out the north gate and keep heading north to Jingshan Park. Note that like most larger public parks in China, there is a small entrance fee, 10元 at the time of writing.
Once part of the greater Forbidden City, Jingshan Park served as a private imperial garden for the Emperor and his palace circle. These days, it's the home of perhaps the best view in Beijing. The central hill in Jingshan is dotted with pavilions, and the middle (and tallest) hill is the home of the Wanchun Pavilion. (The hill itself is not natural. When you're on top, have a look around and see if you can figure out where all that dirt might have come from...)
There are a number of different routes to the top, each consisting of several hundred stone steps. One set of steps starts a little south of N 39° 55.4208' E 116° 23.5687', the site of a tree where the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty hanged himself in 1644, during a peasant revolt that would lead to the start of the Qing Dynasty. The Qing would be China's last imperial dynasty until the overthrow of the imperial system in the early 1900s. (Unfortunately the actual tree itself was torn down during the Cultural Revolution, but a replacement one has been planted on the spot.)
From the pavilion, if the air is clear - never a sure thing in Beijing - you can see the Forbidden City stretching out to the south (and beyond it the National Center for the Performing Arts, known affectionately as the Duck Egg), to the west is Beihai Park and the hilltop White Pagoda (白塔), to the north in the distance is the Olympic Tower at the Olympic Green, home to many events during the 2008 Summer Olympics, and to the east are the skyscrapers of the central business district, dominated by the 528m (1,730 foot) tall China Zun tower.
The coordinates themselves are for a rather large metal disc set into the ground near the pavilion.
To log this virtual cache, post a photo with your log of your GPS device showing the coordinates and the disc, or if you don't have a separate GPS (like if you're caching using a smartphone), post a photo showing a piece of paper with your geocaching username and the date, plus the disc.
Of course, feel free to post other photos with your log as well!
In addition to the spectacular views, this is also a functioning public park for local residents. If you have time, wander around the gardens on the north side of the park, and especially during the morning hours you might come across local residents doing tai chi, line dancing, or playing ping-pong or badminton.
For some reason the Chinese tour groups that flood into the Forbidden City rarely if ever visit Jingshan, so even if the Forbidden City is packed, the park and pavilion are usually fairly quiet by comparison. If you're unlucky enough to not be able to visit the Forbidden City itself because it's too late in the day, or closed (ie Mondays) or they've sold out the daily allotment of 80,000 tickets (which happens sometimes during the summer or other holiday periods), a stroll to the top of Jingshan Park is certainly a nice way to get a feel for the Forbidden City, from a place was off-limits to commoners for centuries.
Virtual Reward - 2017/2018
This Virtual Cache is part of a limited release of Virtuals created between August 24, 2017 and August 24, 2018. Only 4,000 cache owners were given the opportunity to hide a Virtual Cache. Learn more about Virtual Rewards on the Geocaching Blog.