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Home >> China City Guide >> Beijing >> Summer Palace - Beijing travel information and tours
 
 

Summer Palace

 

Summer Palace
Summer Palace, Beijing
Summer Palace, Beijing
Summer Palace, Beijing
Summer Palace, Beijing

The Summer Palace is located on the northwest outskirts of Beijing. It is the best preserved imperial garden in the world and the largest of its kind that still in existence in China today. It is mainly composed of the Longevity Hill and the Kunming Lake. The huge garden boasts about 3,000 garden architecture and is broken into three zones: official zone, living quarters and sightseeing area.

The predecessor of the Summer Palace was the Garden of Clear Ripples (Qingyiyuan) started in 1750 and burned down by the British and French allied troops in 1860. In 1886, Empress Dowager Cixi used navy outlays and other funds in the reconstruction and renamed the park as Summer Palace in 1888. In 1900, it suffered again, being ransacked by the Eight-Power Allied Force. After the success of the 1911 Revolution, it was opened to the public.

The Summer Palace occupies a total area of more than 290 hectares. The Longevity Hill covers one fourth of the total area while the Kunming Lake covers the rest three quarters. The beautiful former imperial garden is set off by a multitude of highly decorated buildings, halls, pavilions, bridges, towers, pagodas, isles, and courtyards. The harmonious layout of the garden is a Chinese architectural masterpiece that combines both the gorgeous landscape and the treasure of the traditional Chinese gardening art.

Official zone: Just like the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Forbidden City, there must be a throne hall for the emperor to handle the state affairs in every Qing imperial garden, with no exception in the Summer Palace.The Hall of Benevolence and Longevity is the representation of the official zone. It was first built in 1750. At that time it was called the Hall of Diligent Government(Qinzhengdian). The name of this hall taken from a book entitled ¡°Lun Yu¡± by Confucius doctrine means: those who are benevolent can enjoy a long life. This hall was the place where Emperor Guangxu and Empress Dowager Cixi held audience and handled state affairs when they were in the Summer Palace.

Living quarters: The representation of the living quarters is the Hall of Happiness and Longevity for Empress Dowager Cixi and the Hall of Jade Ripples. There are many history stories and legend that related to the construction of the living quarters. And you could view many decorated and installation in this place.

Sightseeing area: Covering a larger part of the Summer Palace, opens up the border of the lake. A breeze fluttering, waves gleam and willows kiss the ripples of the vast water. In this comfortable area there are the Eastern and Western Banks, the Seventeen-Arch Bridge, Nanhu Island, and so on. On the western bank float six distinct bridges amongst which the Jade-Belt Bridge is the most beautiful.

On November 30th 1998, it was placed on the List of World Cultural Heritage by the World Cultural Heritage Committee of UNESCO.

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