Yuanmingyuan (圆明园), or Old Summer Palace, used to be an imperial summer palace, with a reputation of being the "Garden of Gardens." On imperial orders in the Qing Dynasty, continuous expansion had been going on for over 150 years.
Its glorious past might have gone on if not for looting and burning by the invading British and French armies during the Second Opium War in 1860. Much damage was caused after this by locals using the site as a source of building materials.
The massive imperial compound is now a beautiful park filled with lakes and a wide variety of plant life.