Shichahai is a famous scenic area in the northwest part of Beijing that includes three lakes – Qianhai (Front Sea), Houhai (Back Sea) and Xihai (West Sea).
Its history goes back to the Jin Dynasty (1115 – 1234), and during the Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368) it was the terminal point of the Grand Canal, which was the main reason for its prosperity.
By the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644), it had changed from a bustling hub to a place of leisure where people could stroll around to admire the vast scenery or enjoy the cool shade under williow trees.
Nowadays, it is a mixture of beautiful vistas and irritating bars and restaurants.
If you look carefully at the mural you can see hidden in the brass plaques a pagoda, a skater, people sitting, a fisherman and a pedicab driver, all of whom are common sights around the lakes.