August 26, 2009

Located about 20 km to the northwestern outskirts of Beijing, The Summer Palace is the best preserved and the largest imperial gardens in China.
In 1153, the Emperor of the Jin Dynasty Wan Yanliang built a temporary palace here called the “Garden of Golden Waters” as his summer resort. In 1888, the Empress Dowager Ci’xi decided to spend the money originally earmarked for the Chinese Navy and rebuilt the garden, she herself gave it its present name of Yi He Yuan (Garden of Cultivated Harmony).
Since then, the Empress Dowager Ci’xi started to spend every summer here and had it restored after it was damaged again in 1900. Hence the name, the Summer Palace.
The main features of the Summer Palace are Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill. Like most imperial palaces in China, the Summer Palace is divided into three parts: Halls for political affairs, living quarters and religious buildings. The most important structures of the Summer Palace is: Painting Walkway, the longest walkway in the Chinese gardens with altogether over 14,000 traditional Chinese paintings on the beams and crossbeams. Marble Boat, which was built for the 50th birthday celebration of Empress Dowager; and The Hall of Dispelling Clouds, Tower of Buddhist Incense, The 17-Arch Bridge, Bronze Ox ……

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