The Summer Palace -- the royal garden, is located ten
kilometers to the northwest of Beijing and used to be a summer residence of Qing
Dynasty emperors and is now a public park. It is an imperial garden famous for
its architectural grandeur and gorgeous natural
Construction of the SummerPalace started in 1750. The northern
part of the SummerPalace 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, visitors command a spectacular view of
buildings of different shapes and sizes 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 is 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 KunmingLake 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 with different shapes
and sizes, are built with bluish gray tiles and bricks. The market place lends a
folksy flavor to the imperial garden.
Detailed introduction to the Summer Palace, the second largest
imperial garden in China.
Equally famous as the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace is
called "Yiheyuan" (Garden of Nurtured Harmony) in Chinese. It is up to now the
best preserved and the largest imperial gardens in China. You may regret it if
you come to Beijing and miss visiting these gardens.
Transportation: If you take a taxi to the
Summer Place from Beijing city centre, it generally costs 80RMB(about 10
USD). The round way will cost about 160RMB(about 20