Minghe Garden, also known as Ming He Yuan or Singing Crane Garden, is one of the ancient gardens of Peking University, located in the northwest corner of the campus. “Ming” means birds singing and “He” means crane, thus “Minghe” translates as “the cranes warble”. In addition to Minghe Garden, there is also Jingchun Garden, another ancient garden on Peking University’s campus, formerly it was a part of Shuchun Garden, which was one of the gardens of Yuanming Yuan (Old Summer Palace). Qianlong Emperor (reigned 1736-1795) bestowed Shuchun Garden to his favorite courtier Heshen. After his death, the ownership of Shuchun Garden changed hands several times. In 1828, Minghe Garden in the western part of Shuchun Garden was assigned to Mianyu, the fifth son of the Jiaqing Emperor.
Minghe Garden once held its reputation as one of the five famous gardens in Beijing’s western suburbs, along with Zide Garden, Ziyi Garden, Chenghuai Garden and Xichun Garden. Minghe Garden took up an area of about 9 hectares, stretching 200 meters from north to south and spanning 500 meters from east to west. Moving from east to west the landscape of the gardens would constantly change. The living areas in the east had an orderly layout and was relatively built up, while the west was designed to be livelier accentuating the beauty of the natural scenery.