Visiting Summer Palace In Winter
Trip Start Nov 23, 2010
32Trip End Nov 29, 2010
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Where I stayed
City Inn (Beijing Happy Valley)
Read my review - 4/5 stars
Read my review - 4/5 stars
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.
My Review Of The Place I Stayed