Snow on the Old Summer Palace ruins, Beijing, China
Old Summer Palace, known in Chinese as Yuan Ming Yuan (the Gardens of Perfect Brightness), and originally called the Imperial Gardens, was a complex of palaces and gardens. It is located 5 miles northwest of the walls of the Imperial City and was built in the 18th and early 19th century as the place where the emperors of the Qing Dynasty resided and handled government affairs (the Forbidden City was used for formal ceremonies). The Old Summer Palace was known for its extensive collection of garden and building architectures and other works of art.
In 1860 during the Second Opium War, two British envoys, a journalist for The Times and their small escort of British and Indian troopers met with the Royal Prince to negotiate. They were imprisoned and tortured, resulting in twenty deaths.The British High Commissioner to China, Lord Elgin, retaliated by ordering the destruction of the palace, which was then carried out by British and French troops.