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Summer Palace

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Introduction
The Summer Palace in Beijing integrates numerous traditional halls and pavilions into the Imperial Garden conceived by the Qing emperor Qianlong between 1750 and 1764 as the Garden of Clear Ripples. Using Kunming Lake, the former reservoir of the Yuan dynasty’s capital and Longevity Hill as the basic framework, the Summer Palace combined political and administrative, residential, spiritual, and recreational functions within a landscape of lakes and mountains, in accordance with the Chinese philosophy of balancing the works of man with nature.The site in Beijing is an outstanding expression of the creative art of Chinese landscape garden design, incorporating the works of man and nature in a harmonious manner.

History
summer palace_02.jpgThe garden was a summer resort for the emperors in the Qing Dynasty originally named the Garden of Clear Ripples (Qingyi). Destroyed during the Second Opium War of the 1850s, the garden was burnt down by the Anglo-French Allied Forces. It was reconstructed by Emperor Guangxu for use by Empress Dowager Cixi and renamed the Summer Palace(Yiheyuan). In 1900, during the Boxer Rebellion, the Eight-Power Allied Force ransacked the palace. After another reconstruction in 1903, the garden was restored to its original beauty and magnificence. Although damaged again during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 it was restored and has been a public park since 1924.As the grandest garden in China, it was added to the World Culture Heritage list in 1998.


The highlights of Summer Palace

1.Kunming Lake
Kunming Lake is a man-made lake. Its predecessors were called Wengshan (Jar Hill) Pond and Xihu Lake. They were reservoirs which had been used as sources of water both for the city and irrigation of fields over a period of 3,500 years. Guo Shoujing, a famous astronomer and engineer in his time, developed it into a reservoir for the capital of the Yuan Dynasty in 1291. The conversion of the area into an imperial garden was commissioned by the Qianlong Emperor with the work being carried out between 1750 and 1764. In the course of creating the gardens, the lake area was extended by a workforce of almost 10,000 laborers.Together with the Longevity Hill, Kunming Lake forms the key landscape features of the Summer Palace gardens. 

2.The Long Corridor

The long corridor.jpgThe Long Corridor is the longest garden corridor in China, and one of the oldest structures in the Summer Palace. It is a covered promenade running for 728 meters along the northern shore of Kunming Lake and connecting with a row of buildings at the foot of Longevity Hill.

Besides the spectacular view of more than 8,000 paintings in traditional Chinese style that illustrates a large span of Chinese history and literature, the Long Corridor is also remarkable in its quake-proof function. According to historical records, over the past 251 years, although the slim and winding Long Corridor has suffered numerous storms, strong winds and even earthquakes, it has never tilted or been undermined.

Information
Admission: CNY40 (low season); CNY50 (peak season) 
Opening Hours: 8:00 to 17:30(summer);8:30-16:30( winter)
Transportation
Bus Route: No. 209, 330, 331, 332, 346, 394, 712, 718, 726, 732, 696, 683, 801, 808, 817, 826, arrive at Yiheyuan Donggongmen (East Gate); No. 303, 330, 331, 346, 375, 384, 393, 634, 716, 718, 696, 683, 801, 808, 817, 834, and5, arrive at Yiheyuan beigongmen (North Gate); No. 374, 437, 704, 992, 481, and 952, arrive at Yiheyuan jiangongmen (Jiangong Gate).

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