Visiting Summer Palace In Winter

Trip Start Nov 23, 2010
Trip End Nov 29, 2010

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Where I stayed
City Inn (Beijing Happy Valley)
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of China  ,
Saturday, November 27, 2010

Our next destination for the day was the Summer Palace, one of the best places I have visited in Beijing for this trip. Despite the fact that the weather was too cold, I enjoyed this place, every bit of it.







We arrived here at around 1015am and from where the bus was parked, we had to walk around 1 kilometer to reach the main entrance to the Summer Palace. This place has also been gazetted at a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 








There were beautiful buildings, the Kun Ming Lake, then the world longest corridor (I think measuring around 2 kilometers) and stunning Magnolia trees, this place was a treat for my camera. 








Below is a brief history of this place. The Summer Palace or Yihe Yuan, literally 'Gardens of Nurtured Harmony', is a beautiful palace in Beijing, mainly dominated by the Longevity Hill (60 meters high) and the Kunming Lake. It covers an expanse of 2.9 square kilometers, three quarters of which is water. The central Kunming Lake covering 2.2 square kilometers was entirely man made and the excavated soil was used to build Longevity Hill. 






The Summer Palace started out life as the Garden of Clear Ripples in 1750, during the reign of Emperor Qian Long. Artisans reproduced the garden architecture styles of various palaces in China. 






 Kunming Lake was created by extending an existing body of water to imitate the West Lake in Hangzhou. The palace complex suffered two major attacks, during the Anglo French allied invasion of 1860 (with the Old Summer Palace also ransacked at that time) and during Boxer Rebellion, in an attack by the eight allied powers in 1900. The garden survived these numerous attacks and was rebuilt in 1886 and 1902. 




In 1888, it was given its current name, Yihe Yuan. It served as a summer resort for the Empress Dowager Cixi, who diverted 30 million taels of silver, said to be originally designated for the Chinese Navy (Beiyang Fleet), into the reconstruction and enlargement of the Summer Palace. 



In Decenber 1998, UNESCO included the Summer Palace on its World Heritage List. It declared the Summer Palace 'a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. The natural landscape of hills and open water is combined with artificial features such as pavilions, halls, palaces, temples and bridges to form a harmonious ensemble of outstanding aesthetic value'. 




Longevity Hill - When the Jin Dynasty Emperor Wanyan Liang moved his capitol to the Beijing area, he had a Gold Mountain Palace built on the site of the hill. In the Yuan Dynasty, the hill was renamed from Gold Mountain to Jug Hill. This name change is explained be a legend according to which a jar with treasure inside was found once on the hill. The loss of the jar is said to have coincided with the fall of the Ming Dynasty as has been predicted by its finder. 



The Qianlong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911), who commissioned work on the imperial gardens on the hill in 1749, gave Longevity Hill its present day name in 1752, in celebration of his mothers 60th birthday. The hill is about 60 meters high and houses many buildings positioned in sequence. The front hill is rich with the splendid halls and pavilions, while the back hill, in sharp contrast, is quiet with natural beauty.

After the long walk and tour, we left this place at 1230 noon. 
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greekcypriot on

We have been here many years back and it was just beautiful. Of course it was summer then, but this entry reminded me of that day, and the way somebody tried to give us fake money. One of the group had bought many ties but he was shocked to find that the money he got were fake. I wonder where your next trip is going to be now Venoth!

venoth on

Hie Wonderland Hotels, yeah true. This day was extremely cold and the strongly blowing wind was adding on to it. Thats why I had to become like a tortoise hiding behind my shell. Hehehe

venoth on

Hi Greekcypriot, yeah true. Fake notes are freely flowing everywhere in China. Luckily my usual money changer here gave me a few hints on how to immediately identify fake notes. I guess, for December, I shall be pretty much lying low and spending some time at home. Just perhaps visiting an event which I have in mind, the KL International Motor Show...the exhibition of the latest concept cars and ones to be released soon from all the renowned car makers in the world. Shall be working on them once the Beijing series is done.

venoth on

Hi Sridhar, actually I had got winter clothes and all the accessories and for myself, I just reused my dad's winter jacket which he had used in China the last time. Usually I have no issues with cold weather ( I guess Im loaded with fat hehehe) but I did not expect it to be this cold on the day. If you had observed, my winter jacket was unbuttoned throughout, except this day. It was painfully cold.

venoth on

Hi Wonderland Hotels, anyway, this was my first experience with winter as well. Hehehehe It can be painfully frightening. :)

Jay on

The Summer Palace is simply beautiful. But I guess its better to visit in Summer. The Summer Palace and Winter visit does not rhyme well I guess. Hehehe. I would not want to be frozen when Im there.

venoth on

Hi Jay, very true indeed. This place is very beautiful. As a photographer, I think this place gives a different kind of beauty every season, be it spring, summer, autumn or winter.

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