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Long Corridor at the Summer Palace


The Long Corridor is a covered walkway in the Summer Palace in Beijing, China. First erected in the middle of the 18th century, it is famous for its length (728 m) in conjunction with its rich painted decoration (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. As a part of the Summer Palace, the Long Corridor was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in December, 1998.

Function & Layout
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. Along its entire length, it keeps to the transitional zone between the lake shore and the foot of the Longevity Hill, which is on the opposite side of the corridor. The Marble Boat, a landmark lakeside pavilion, is located near the western end of the corridor. The middle section of the Long Corridor passes in a southward bend around the central building complex on the lake side of Longevity Hill, The main hall in this complex is the Cloud-Dispelling Hall (Pai Yun Dian), where the Empress Dowager Cixi used to celebrate her birthday. The Long Corridor runs through the Cloud-Dispelling Gate (Pai Yun Men) that marks the center of the corridor. The Gate is a landmark in its own right and covered in paintings.


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 with double eaves, two on each side of the Cloud-Dispelling Gate. The pavilions symbolize the four seasons (spring, summer, autumn, winter) and are named (from east to west): Liu Jia (Chinese: 留佳; pinyin: Liú Jiā, "retaining the goodness"), Ji Lan (Chinese: 寄澜 ; pinyin: Jì Lán, "living with the ripples"), Qiu Shui (Chinese: 秋水; pinyin: Qiū Shuǐ, "autumn water"), and Qing Yao (Chinese: 清遥; pinyin: Qīng Yáo, "clear and far"). Midway between the two pavilions on either side of the Cloud-Dispelling Gate, pavilions on the lake shore can be reached through short southward extension of the Long Corridor: the Facing-the-Seagull Boat (Dui Ou Fang) Pavilion in the east and the Fish-and-Algae Pavilion (Yu Zao Xuan)in the west. In the west, there is also a northward extension opposite of the Fish-and-Algae Pavilion, which leads to a three-storey octagonal observation tower.

The Long Corridor is richly decorated with paintings on the beams and the ceiling. In total there are more than 14,000 paintings, which depict episodes from Chinese classical literature, folk tales, both historical and legendary figures, and famous Chinese buildings and landscapes along with flowers, birds, fish, and insects. In each of the four pavilions, there are two major paintings over the two doorways on the eastern and western sides.


Source: Wikipedia

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