Baroque Beijing

You would be forgiven for thinking that Beijing was gearing up to be the filming location for the Hobbit

Or perhaps a movie about Stonehenge

Or even Arcadia

Eventually, though, there are clues you are actually in a Chinese park:

This is the Old Summer Palace, built by Giuseppe Castiglione and Michel Benoist for the Qianlong Emperor. Qianglong is better known for his feud with George Macartney. Qianlong’s famously remarked to Macart9ney (actually, in a letter to King George III):

As your Ambassador can see for himself, we possess all things. I set no value on objects strange or ingenious, and have no use for your country’s manufactures.

Maybe he just preferred Italian craftsmanship?

Macartney, for his part, summed up the Manchu Apartheid State as follows: “The Government, as it stands, is properly the tyranny of a handful of Tatars over more than three hundred millions of Chinese.” Both Republican and Communist revolutionaries would agree.

The Summer Palace was destroyed in October 18, 1860, as retaliation for the murder of British and Indian personnel. Now, it is one of the most unusual parks in Beijing!