Summer Palace, Beijing

4.5 out of 5 stars 309 Reviews

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    Summer Palace
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  • Summer Palace
    Summer Palace
    by loja
  • Summer Palace
    Summer Palace
    by loja
  • nepalgoods's Profile Photo

    Summerpalace

    by nepalgoods Updated Feb 17, 2006

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    The Summer Palace is a big area of palaces, pavillons, corridors, tempels and parks. Everything is around a big lake, the Kunming Lake. Most buildings, you can see today, are from the Qing Dynasty. But this place had been a recreation area already in early times. In summer the climate here is much nicer than in the city. Emperor Qianlong ordered the building of many gardens and palaces.

    I loved to go to the Summerpalace and to explore the area, as it is a very big place. Every time I went there I discovered a different sight.

    There are palaces and temples spread in an area of hills and a lake. To see all the different palaces and halls and temples in the Summer Palace you need at least one day.

    This bridge on the pic is the 17 Arches Bridge (Shiqikong Qiao) This bridge has 500 columns with individually designed lions and is 150m long.

    When you cross the bridge you reach a small island with the Temple of the Dragon King (Longwang Miao). This temple originates from the Ming Dynasty.

    Bridge over Kunming Lake
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    The Summer Palace

    by blue_sky04 Updated Feb 15, 2006

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    Located 15 km northwest from Beijing & covering an area of about 300 hectares, the Summer Palace is associated with the Qing dynasty's dowager Empress Cixi. The name in Chinese, Yiheyuan, means "garden of restful peace."

    The Summer Palace's history dates back to the 1150s & the history of its gardens dates back to the Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan. To improve Beijing's water supply, he ordered the construction of canals transporting water from the Western Hills to an enlarged lake, now known as the Kunming Lake.
    Five hundred years later, Emperor Qianlong (r. 1736 - 1756) added lake-side gardens & a Temple for Gratitude and Longevity in honour of his mother's birthday. It was not before 1875 that the New Summer Palace, in its current form, began to take shape.

    The 150 meter long 17 Arch Bridge was built in 1750 by the Qing Emperor Qianlong. Linking the eastern edge of Kunming lake with the Dragon King Temple on Nanhu (or Penglai) islet, the span of 17 arches has to do with Chinese numerology. The number 8 (eight) is a homonym for luck or wealth in Chinese. The ninth arch, the largest, is considered the number most auspicious for emperors, thus the Son of Heaven is symbolically positioned in the middle of good fortune on both sides. There are 544 stone lions on the railings.

    Summer Palace mainly consists of :
    - Kunming Lake, which covers an area of 220 hectares. This natural lake is more than 3,500 years old.
    - Longevity Hill, which can be divided into Front Hill and Rear Hill, is about 60 meters high.
    - The Long Corridor is 795 yards long and parallels the lake. It is the longest walkway in the Chinese gardens with altogether over 14,000 traditional Chinese paintings on the beams and crossbeams.

    Summer Palace has 2 entrances, one is the East Palace Gate and the other is North Palace Gate. Most visitors enter the garden from the East Palace Gate.

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    Hall for Listening to Orioles

    by snuggie Written Feb 15, 2006

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    This was initially built by emperor Qianlong for his mother to watch opera and was named the 'Hall for Listening to Orioles' because in the olden times,beautiful voices are often compared to the singing of the orioles.The hall was later burned down by the Ango-French Allied in 1860 & was later rebuilt in emperor Guangxu's reign.

    Today the hall is one of the famous restaurants in China, featuring imperial dishes and desserts and is a must for many foreign state guests to have lunch here when they visit Beijing.

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    Hall of Benevolence and Longevity (Ren Shou Dian)

    by snuggie Written Feb 5, 2006

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    This was built in 1750 during the Qing dynasty.It was later named the Hall of Diligent Government when the Summer Palace was called the Garden of Clear Ripples.
    This is also the place where Empress Dowager Cixi and Emperor Guangxu handle court affairs during their stay in Summer Palace.

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    Hall of Jade Ripples (Yulan Tang)

    by snuggie Written Feb 5, 2006

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    This is the place where Emperor Guangxu lives when he was at Summer Palace.Emperor Guangxu used to read written submissions to the throne and conduct court affairs in the main room.
    On 16 Sep 1898,Emperor Guangxu summoned Yuan Shikai (who then control the imperial regiment) for a secret audience here,in hope that Yuan Shikai would support his reforms.

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    A Sunny day at the Summer Palace.

    by jerokee_528 Written Jan 25, 2006

    "Containing examples of the ancient arts, it also has graceful landscapes and magnificent constructions. The Summer Palace is the archetypal Chinese garden, and is ranked amongst the most noted and classical gardens of the world. In 1998, it was listed as one of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO." We walked around the lake and then took the boat ride back. It is a place where I could have spent more time since there were several building and gardens. Again, some of the buildings were closed for remodelling work. A place I would return if I ever get back to Beijing.

    Building in Summer Palace area.
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    Summer Palace

    by Jim_Eliason Updated Dec 29, 2005

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    This large palace complex is in Northwest Beijing. Built by the Empress Dowager Cixi, this was one of the excesses that led to the downfall of the Emperor. One could spend a whole day here. Highlights include the covered walkway and the marble boat.

    Summer Palace Summer Palace Summer Palace Summer Palace Summer Palace
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    Summer Palace

    by bonio Written Dec 23, 2005

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    Empress Dowager Cixi is most assosiated with this beautiful palace and gardens, Sound like it came at a high cost to the local population at the time though.
    Again a freezing day offset by lack of crowds sounds good to me. Here's what we saw there.

    The famous marble Long corridor The water here has just frozen!

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    Mythical Animals in the Summer Palace

    by yellowbell Updated Nov 10, 2005

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    In the courtyard of the Hall of Benevolent Longevity, three carved animals piqued my curiosity:

    Kylin is known as the Chinese unicorn. It was said to guard destruction against fire. This animal has the antlers of a deer, ox hooves, tail of an ox or a lion, and a dragon head. Interestingly enough, many tourists have their pictures taken with this animal perhaps because of its unique appearance and because according to a legend (see website below), to see or approach one is a sign of heavenly approval. Kylin contrary to commonly known image of a Western unicorn (white horse with a horn) was said to be an Indian rhinoceros.

    Phoenix according to a myth is a bird that never dies and always flies in front to scan distant space. This allows the bird to collect great information and see events unfolding. In the courtyard, the phoenix bird (symbol of the empress) was in the middle of the courtyard instead of the dragon (symbol of the emperor). Needless to say Empress Dowager Cixi was the one who managed the affairs of the state.

    Dragons in Oriental countries symbolize strength, wisdom and power. The number of claws distinguish an imperial dragon from dragons of lower classes. How many claws a dragon should have to be considered a Chinese imperial emblem? .

    Imperial Dragon beside a phoenix
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    Peking Opera

    by yellowbell Written Nov 7, 2005

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    I missed looking at the Garden of Virtue and Harmony where the tourist guide said was where the Peking Opera was being held and thus require additional fee. Outside this Garden is a ticket booth where additional fee can be paid. It was said that underneath one of the stages are a deep well and five ponds in order to provide good acoustics. Dressing House exhibits opera costumes and Empress Cixi's vintage Benz.

    I should have insisted to go in there to watch the Peking Opera instead of watching the acrobat show at Poly Theatre (please see related tip).

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    Summer Palace

    by Mairo21 Updated Oct 25, 2005

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    Open Daily: 8am-7pm, buildings close at 4pm
    Cost: 40 RMB
    Summer Palace is most associated with the Empress Dowager Cixi. She had the palace rebuilt twice. Once following its destruction my French and English troops, and a second time after it was ransacked during the Boxer rebellion. The grounds of the Summer Palace cover 716 acres. To walk along the entire shoreline of the main man made lake would take about 2 hours. In fact two thirds of the Summer Palace is made up of water. The royal family would take shelter here during the smeltering hot summer season which took place druing the months of May-October. Temperatures could reach a maximum of 100 degrees fahrenheit. Here, the water would keep them cool, and Cixi would take shelter on her famed Marble boat. Construction of this boat was compensated with the use of Chinese Naval funds. When raining, the emperor/ empress would stroll along the "long corridor," on which landscapes of the southern region of China were painted on. Total of 8,000 pictures, non alike. The long corridor is 708 meters long. So much more to mention, but you should go see for yourself.

    Marble Boat Intricately decorated and oddly shaped windows. Long Corridor Seventeen-arch bridge Suzhou Street replicated here.

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    The Marble Boat

    by MickeH Written Sep 6, 2005

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    It's real name is the Clear and Peaceful boat.
    This marble boat lies docked at the west side of Longevity Hill.

    Apperently much of the summer palace was damaged during the second opium war, and Empress Cixi began repairing the palace with money earmarked for a modern navy.
    She also had this boat made and that was the closest thing to a naval unit that the earmarked money ever came.

    If more leaders thought like that we might just find a way to stop wars for good :-)

    the Clear and Peaceful boat
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    Where Beijing opera was born?

    by MickeH Written Sep 6, 2005

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    Inside the Garden of Virtue and Harmony (wow, you got to love those names) you will find the Great Stage.

    Especially built for the Empress Dowager it is regarded as the cradle of Beijing opera.

    If you come in by the east gate you will find it just nortwest of that entrance.

    the Great Stage
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    The beautiful Summer Palace

    by MickeH Written Sep 6, 2005

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    In the northwest of Beijing lies the Summer Palace. It is a huge area surrounding Kunming Lake with loads of impressive buildings and beautful scenery.

    This place will easily take a day to explore and appriceate.
    Most of the buildings is on and around Longevity Hill to the northeast of the park, but the walk around the lake gives you plenty of spectacular veiws and pavilions and arc bridges as well as lush green surroundings.

    Summer Palace
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    The Long Corridor

    by Blatherwick Updated Aug 3, 2005

    The Long Corridor is a covered walkway in the Summer Palace. First erected in the middle of the 18th century, it is famous for its richly painted decorations with more than 14,000 paintings.

    The Long Corridor was first built in 1750, when the Qianlong Emperor commissioned work to convert the area into an imperial garden. The corridor was constructed so that the emperor's mother could enjoy a walk through the gardens protected from the elements. Like most of the Summer Palace, the Long Corridor was severely damaged by fire which Anglo-French allied forces laid in 1860 during the Second Opium War. It was rebuilt in 1886. During the Cultural Revolution, many of the original paintings were painted over.

    The Long Corridor leads from the Gate for Greeting the Moon (Yao Yue Men) in the east westwards along the northern shore of Kunming Lake. The total length of the Long Corridor is 728 meters, with crossbeams under the roof dividing it into 273 sections. Along its course, there are four octagonal pavilions which symbolize the four seasons.

    Long Corridor
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