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Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development

Mulan Hunting Ground


Situated in Weichang Manchu and Mongolian Autonomous County in Chengde, Mulan Hunting Ground was where Qing Dynasty emperors led hunting parties. It is about 135 kilometers from downtown Chengde.

Mulan Hunting Ground features fertile grasslands and many wildlife species. In 1681, Emperor Kangxi developed and designated this 14,000 sq km area as the imperial hunting ground, the largest in Chinese history. It also doubled as a place for military training exercises. In the first half of the Qing Dynasty, each autumn the emperor would lead princes, ministers and elite forces on hunting expeditions. Over the 140 years from the rule of Kangxi to that of Jiaqing, Qing emperors went on as many as 105 hunts there.

Emperor Kangxi enclosed this piece of land for political reasons. Mulan is located between Beijing and Mongolia. It therefore occupies an important strategic position. The hunts the Qing emperors organized every year were actually a pretext for military maneuvers. Their aim was to deflect and discourage attacks from Mongols and invasions by Tsarist Russia, and meanwhile, to enhance ethnic unity and frontier defense at the northern border. Mulan Hunting Ground thus acted as the Qing government’s launch pad for political and military activities.

In the Museum of Chengde Mountain Resort hangs a painting titled Emperor Qianlong Hunting in Mulan in Autumn which vividly depicts a grand hunting scenario. After the hunt a grand banquet would be held. The emperor would invite his ministers and Mongolian aristocrats to drink and enjoy song and dance performances, and present rewards for outstanding military exploits.

The common people were forbidden entry to Mulan, either to hunt or fell trees, until 1826. It was then opened to all, and people reclaimed the land. That year marked the beginning of the decline of this once grand imperial hunting ground.

Today the largest artificial forest farm in China stands on what was Mulan Hunting Ground. It is now designated a national scenic spot. Located at an altitude of over 1,000 meters, Mulan is composed of the Saihanba National Forest Park, Yudaokou Grassland and Forest Scenic Zone, and the Hongsongwa Natural Conservation Area. Besides marveling at the rolling hills and lush grassland that stretch to the horizon, visitors can also take part in hunting activities, try local dishes, and enjoy folk activities.

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