Prince Kung’s Mansion
The Prince Kung’s Mansion is a well-known scenic spot, located in Xicheng District, Beijing, just north of Shichahai Scenic Area. Originally constructed for Heshen, an official highly favored by the Qianlong Emperor, it was later renamed after Prince Gong, a Manchu prince and influential statesman of the late Qing Dynasty.
The mansion was constructed in 1777. The dwelling is a traditional courtyard mansion of a style that was so popular in imperial Beijing. The complex covers a total area of 60,000 square meters (14.9 acres).
Prince Kung's Mansion (Gong Wang Fu), Beijing's largest and best-preserved Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) princely mansion, illustrates the culture and life style of Imperial China's elite. [Photo/VCG]
From a young age, Heshen earned the favor of the Qianlong Emperor and rose swiftly through the ranks in the imperial administration to become one of the top and wealthiest officials in the imperial court. In 1851, Emperor Xianfeng granted the mansion to his sixth brother, Prince Kung (pinyin: Gong), whom the mansion is named after.
In 1921, after the collapse of the Qing dynasty, Prince Kung's grandson, Puwei, offered the property as a mortgage to the Order of Saint Benedict of the Catholic Church. The Benedictines invested significant resources into restoring the dilapidated mansion for use as a university. It was then known as Furen Catholic University until the priests were evicted from China in 1951.
In November 2006, renovation started on the buildings and the mansion reopened as the "Prince Kung's Mansion" on 24 August 2008. It showcases the lives of Manchu nobles and aspects of the Qing Dynasty.