Monday, December 15, 2008

travel to Beijing: the Summer Palace

Located in northwest suburban Beijing, the Summer Palace (Yi He Yuan in Chinese) is ranked amongst the most noted and classical imperial gardens of the world. Ingeniously conceived and exquisitely constructed, it is a collection of all the masterpieces in the art of Chinese garden-building and is known as the “Museum of Imperial Gardens”, using to be a luxurious royal garden providing royal families with rest and entertainment. In 1998, it was listed as one of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

The Summer Palace has a tough history, suffering great disaster for twice. Originally named the Garden of Clear Ripples, it was first constructed in 1750 (during the reign of Emperor Qianlong in Qing Dynasty). In 1860 the garden was burned down by Anglo-French allied forces. In 1888, Empress Dowager Cixi embezzled navy funds to reconstruct it for her own benefit, changing its name to Summer Palace (Yiheyuan). Therefore it became the living place of The Empress Dowager Cixi in her later years, dealing with state affairs and entertaining. In 1900, it suffered again, being ransacked by the Eight-Power Allied Forces. After the success of the 1911 Revolution, it was opened to the public.

In the Summer Palace, tourists can not only enjoy the grandeur of an imperial garden, but also the beauty of nature. Occupying an area of 304 hectares, the Summer Palace integrates the landscape, architecture and plants into a whole! Lakes and hills are dotted with palaces, temples and garden structures. The two main elements of the garden would be the Longevity Hill and the Kunming Lake. Take your time to enjoy the amazing scenery here, I swear you don’t want to miss any detail.

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