If only walls could talk, those at Prince Gong’s Mansion would have a lot to say!
This fascinating location, tucked down a side street near Beihai Park has seen so much drama, intrigue and plot twists it could become its own soap opera! And yet few people have heard of it, and even fewer have time to explore the storied courtyards for themselves!
Read on to learn more about this must-visit site, and how you can get all the inside stories on our next Hidden Histories walk and talk event!
The mansion, actually a large complex of buildings and courtyards in typical Chinese style, was built in 1777 for one of Emperor Qianlong’s officials, Heshen.
Heshen began his career as a bodyguard at the Imperial Palace and almost immediately impressed Qianlong. Within just a few years he had risen through several ranks that usually took decades to obtain and had become Minister of Revenue, one of the highest positions in the empire. In 1790 his son married Qianlong’s favourite daughter Hexiao. With such power he quickly became corrupt, raising taxes to steal the extra funds and causing misery to millions.
After Qianlong’s death Emperor Jiaqing was able to punish him, and he was ordered to commit suicide. He’s remembered as the most corrupt official in Chinese history!
In 1851 the mansion was given to Prince Gong, who was in some ways similar to the previous occupant! He was also accused of corruption and died in disgrace, but not to the same extent as Heshen. In fact he was extremely intelligent and forward-thinking, lead the Grand Council, and was instrumental in modernising China and establishing stronger ties with the Great Powers (Britain, France and Russia).
After the end of Imperial China, the mansion became Furen Catholic University and later an air conditioning factory!
But the culture, influence and reasons to visit this beautiful location run much deeper than a few paragraphs can describe. With its stunning architecture and the fascinating history of its occupants, Prince Gong’s Mansion is the ideal place find out about a lesser-known side of Chinese history!
Want to learn more? Then join the CK Hidden Histories walk & talk event and find out about the history of the building, the trials and tribulations of the people who lived there, and the impact they had on China.
Led by amatuer historian Chen Shao Ting, the walk finishes in the classical Chinese garden where you are free to relax as long as you wish!
Location: Prince Gong’s Mansion (恭王府)
Starting time: 9.55am Beihaibei (Line 6)
Ending time: 12.00pm
Payment: Prepayment required. WeChat, PayPal, or Alipay accepted
– Cultural Keys
Don’t miss out on the latest offers, information and events from Cultural Keys. Follow our Official WeChat Account by scanning the QR code below, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn to be the first to know!
Are you interested in learning more about the traditional culture of China, and perhaps experiencing it for yourself? Since 2013, Cultural Keys Chinese Culture Centre has been helping people doing exactly that.
Through our provision of content, classes, information and services, Cultural Keys helps people access, understand and experience the traditional culture of China, from kung fu to calligraphy, feng shui to painting. Click here to read more about Cultural Keys and what we can do for you, your school, company or organisation to help you get more out of your time in China.
For more information about anything on this page, please contact us or use the form below to let us know your specific requirements.
We look forward to hearing from you!