The Opium Wars and the Yuanmingyuan


The Old Summer Palace stands as a witness to the turbulent history of modern China. Originally conceived by the Kangxi Emperor as a small gift to his son, the palace was remodeled with ambitious grandeur by the Qianlong Emperor in the 18th century, and became the residence of the imperial court until the destruction brought by the Second Opium War in 1860.

Its peaceful lakes and gardens are an invitation to a relaxing walk all year long. Visitors come to admire the lotus blossoms and the black swans, rent a boat during the summer or step on the frozen lakes when the winter brings its coldest days.

Throughout this walk, we will discuss the intrigues dividing the Qing court, the surging popularity of tea and the trade imbalance which led the British to engage in illicit opium trade, the upheavals caused by the Opium Wars and the impact these events have had to this day.

This small-group tour (3 to 10 persons) is offered at the  price of 300RMB, which includes admission to the sites and is paid at the end of our itinerary. We welcome your feedback on our tours and hope to provide a very positive and interactive experience.

Reservations can be made online through our website or by emailing us at Please contact us if you need more detailed information about how to find our meeting point or for any other request.