Sun Zhongshan, perhaps better known as Sun Yatsen, was the key figure in the 1911 revolution which brought down the Qing dynasty and ended imperial rule in China. He was the first president of the republic and is revered by Chinese of every political inclination as the founder of modern China. This park that has been dedicated to his memory lies just west of Tiananmen Gate and covers an area of 24 hectares. Zhongshan Park received its name in 1928 and is on the former site of the Temple of the Wealth of the Land. The temple no longer exists but there is the Altar of Land and Grain, which was set up under Ming emperor Yongle in 1421. Another point of interest is the white marble memorial archway to the north of the park, erected by the Qing government to pay homage to the German ambassador Baron Ketteler, who was killed by the Boxers in 1900.
The park is a grand example of imperial architecture and classical Chinese landscape gardening. It is also famed for its old cypresses, some of which are over a 1,000 years old. The lush green landscape is a popular refuge from harried citylife for many Beijingers.