Summer Palace, Beijing
In China, there are many beautiful gates built, many destroyed and rebuilt. This is one of my favorite gate located at the foot of Longevity Hill and overlooks Kunming Lake.
It is a symbol of era gone by where locals kowtowed to the Emperor or Empress of Chinese dynasties over the milleniums. Interestingly many have been burnt or damaged in wars or revolutions and being rebuilt or restored to their former glories as a historic and tourist landmark.
The palace is impressive!!! It's huge and beautiful.
I even heard a rumor that the lake and the hill are man-made. I have not done any reseach/reading to prove the rumor. If it is true, this fact adds one more reason to call this place impressive.
I hope the maps can be helpful for you to get the idea about the Summer Palace and you can use them when visiting the palace.
Favorite thing: Another attraction that is recommended is the Summer Palace. Since the hotel could only offer a guided tour which included 3 other attractions in addition to the Summer Palace, we went there on our own. The taxi ride took us less than half an hour and cost about 50 RMB. Once we got out of the taxi we were ”bombarded” by people that were selling stuff but we managed to get to the ticket counter and got entrance tickets for 40 RMB each. I do wish that we had gone for some sort of guiding here because we walked around more or less clueless. There is some information at some of the buildings but most of them just kept on repeating that the buildings had been burnt down by the Anglo-French army in the 1860s. We also found some information in the guidebook but it didn’t seem like enough. We walked around quite a lot and we got to see the long corridor where about 1000 beams contain unique paintings. We got to see the Tower of Buddhist Fragrance which towered over the lake itself. The steps leading up to this building are steep but the view from the top is quite nice. We also got to see the Marble Boat of Purity and Ease – Empress Dowager Ci’xi’s way of honouring the navy (paid for with naval funds). Many of the buildings in the complex are not open to the public. One can peer through the dusty windows to see the objects within – such as the Empress Dowager Ci’xi’s birthday gifts in her birthday room.
Favorite thing: The summer palace is set in a beautiful location, on the slope of a hill next to a superb lake surrounded by a lush vegetation. What makes it all the more impressive, and typical of China's extraordinary monuments, is that the hill was made from digging up the lake. In this sense, the palace is as stunning as the Forbidden City and the Great Wall: it gives the visitor a breathtaking insight into a unique and titanic civilisation.
Located in Haidian District, the Summer Palace is a classical imperial garden embracing hills and lakes. This was the place where the imperial families of the Qing Dynasty came for relaxation and spent their summer.
There are over 3,000 different points of interest located among the vast lake and hills.
Summer Palace . The Summer Palace, located ten kilometers to the northwest of Beijing, used to be a summer residence of Qing Dynasty emperors and is now a public park. It is an imperial garden known far and wide for its architectural grandeur and stunning natural beauty. Construction of the Summer Palace started in 1750.
The northern part of the Summer Palace is the 60-meter-tall Longevity Hill. Its southern part is a wide expanse of water called Kunming Lake. The whole garden covers 290 hectares, with the lake taking up four-fifths of its total area.
A cluster of grand buildings adorn the middle section of the Longevity Hill. On the slope from the lakeside to the hilltop stand: a decorated archway called Jade-Like Firmament in Bright Colors, Cloud-Dispelling Hall, Hall of Virtuous Brilliance, Pavilion of Buddhist Incense and Temple of the Sea of Wisdom. Standing on the top of the hill, a visitor commands a spectacular view of buildings of different shapes and sizes down below, their golden roofs glittering under the sun; the placid, huge Kunming Lake dotted with rowing boats; a 17-arch bridge that connects an island with the lake's southern bank; the long, winding west bank of the lake joined by six bridges; and the distant West Hills.
Along the northern bank of Kunming Lake runs the Long Corridor with a total length of 728 meters and 273 sections. It is like a necklace for Longevity Hill. Strolling in the corridor, a visitor sees an endless lineup of corridor stands stretching into the distance or curving away elegantly at soft angles as well as Kunming Lake sparkling under the sun. The crossbeams of the Long Corridor are decorated with more than 8,000 color paintings with Chinese landscape and historical stories as their themes.
The 17-arch bridge on the southern bank of Kunming Lake is more than 150 meters long. Carved stone lions, of different sizes and postures, sit on top of the bridge's stone columns. An octagonal pavilion stands at one end of the bridge and near the pavilion lies a bronze ox with its head raised toward the lake. On the back of the ox is engraved a line from Emperor Qianlong stating that the ox is used to control flooding of the lake.
A Ming-style street winds along a stretch of water on the back side of Longevity Hill. The Suzhou Street, 300 meters long, is lined with more than 60 shops and decorated with archways and gateways. The shops, of different shapes and sizes, are built with bluish gray tiles and bricks. The marketplace lends a folksy flavor to the imperial garden.
Favorite thing: Yi-He-Yuan (The Summer Palace) The best kept existing imperial garden. The Kunming lake occupies most of the entire park, with the famous 17-Arch Bridge (I couldn't count 17 anyway). The palace is divided into 3 parts: Political (meeting rooms), Living and Landscape browsing.
Fondest memory: The Summer Palace and Kunming Lake - again. There are so many great pages on Beijing here that I would like to recommend: Krystynn's Beijing page and eva_oberg's Beijing page. They are excellent. You can find out all you want to know about the Summer Palace from them.
Fondest memory: Here at the Summer Palace: A glimpse of the Imperial sleeping quarters of Her Imperial Majesty -- Cixi, the Empress Dowager. In case some of you don't know much about her, she was a real mean person. Her devilish feats included poisoning her son, the weak Emperor to death; forced her son's favourite concubine to commit suicide by jumping into one of the Palace's wells.
visit the summer home of the Qing emperors - the SUMMER PALACE (so aptly named) or in Chinese, 'Yi He Yuan'.
This is one of Beijing's finest sights and believe me, it is immensely huge. This site had long been a royal garden and was considerably enlarged by the famous Emperor Qian Long (pronounced as 'Chian Long') in the 18th century. What he did was to deepen and expand the beautiful KUNMING LAKE (yup, that's the one in the picture)... In winter, the lake becomes frozen and people would gather here at this spot to ice-skate....
The place I liked the most in Beijing was the Summer Palace. From all the big attractions with horrendous entry-prizes (35 Yuen! :-P ), it was really the most worth-while. The 'Summer Palace' is basically a very large, beautiful parc with a lake and lots of different natural scenery (rare in China!), which used to be the imperial residence during Qing dynasty. Since its construction in 1750 it's been destroyed completely two times by foreign powers, so most of it is quite new, built in 1902.
The Empress Dowager Cixi, the last Chinese Monarch I think (?) also used to hang around here a lot. She restored the garden in 1886 after it had been burnt down by the Brits & the French, spending a whole lot of money on it while people were starving, just so it could be destroyed again by the Eight-Power(!) Allied Forces in 1900. The Marble Boat is a good symbol for how Cixi ruined the country, cause she spent the whole of the budget meant to build up the Chinese navy and empower the country against enemies, to rebuilt A MARBLE BOAT!!
Anyway, looking at this picture from the gorgeous Lotos-pond at the 'Garden of Harmonious Pleasures' you must admit she had taste!!
Fondest memory: The Summer Palace is a bit offbeat, in the northwestern suburbs of Beijing, but it's quite easy to get there by bus. It was very full of (mostly Chinese) tourists, but cause it's so big it doesn't matter as much as in the Forbidden City for example. There are many beautiful things to see in it (The long corridor, Suzhou street, the Porcelain Pagoda or the Tower of Buddhist Virtue for example - also check out the Travelogue!) and lots of nature, a place to spend a whole day at and do a picnic here and then!
Such elegant corridors represent the beauty of Chinese traditional architecture and the character of Chinese.
A steamboat is lying peacefully on the bank of Kunming Lake.
It is a Qing Dynasty relic.
tour the Summer Palace.
The Summer Palace was built for Empress Dowager and represents the best views of different parts of the country.