Beihai Park (simplified Chinese: 北海公园; traditional Chinese: 北海公園; pinyin: Běihǎi Gōngyuán) is an imperial garden to the northwest of the Forbidden City in Beijing. Built in the 10th century, it is amongst the largest of Chinese gardens, and contains numerous historically important structures, palaces and temples. Prior to the end of the Qing Dynasty in 1911 this area was connected to the Forbidden City, but since 1925 it has been open to the public.
The Park has an area of more than 69 hectares, with a lake that covers more than half of the entire Park. At the center of the Park is an island called Qiónghuá (琼华) Island with a highest point of 32 m. In the north of the park there is a large pool called the Taiye Pool connecting the two other pools, which are called the Middle Sea and the South Sea respectively. Therefore the Taiye Pool is also called the Beihai.
Beihai literally means "Northern Sea". There are also corresponding "Central" and "Southern Seas" (Zhongnanhai). The complex of buildings around Zhongnanhai houses China's paramount leaders.
The Beihai Park, as with many of Chinese imperial gardens, was built to imitate renowned scenic spots and architecture from various regions of China; the taihu lake, the elaborate pavilions and canals in Hangzhou and Yangzhou, the delicate garden structures in Suzhou and others all served as inspirations for the design of the numerous sites in this imperial garden. The structures and scenes in the Beihai Park are described as masterpieces of gardening technique that reflects the style and the superb architectural skill and richness of traditional Chinese garden art.