The Summer Palace is located on the
northwest outskirts of Beijing. It is the best preserved
imperial garden in the world and the largest of its
kind that still in existence in China today. It is mainly
composed of the Longevity Hill and the Kunming Lake.
The huge garden boasts about 3,000 garden architecture
and is broken into three zones: official zone, living
quarters and sightseeing area.
The predecessor of the Summer Palace
was the Garden of Clear Ripples (Qingyiyuan) started
in 1750 and burned down by the British and French allied
troops in 1860. In 1886, Empress Dowager Cixi used navy
outlays and other funds in the reconstruction and renamed
the park as Summer Palace in 1888. In 1900, it suffered
again, being ransacked by the Eight-Power Allied Force.
After the success of the 1911 Revolution, it was opened
to the public.
The Summer Palace occupies a total
area of more than 290 hectares. The Longevity Hill covers
one fourth of the total area while the Kunming Lake
covers the rest three quarters. The beautiful former
imperial garden is set off by a multitude of highly
decorated buildings, halls, pavilions, bridges, towers,
pagodas, isles, and courtyards. The harmonious layout
of the garden is a Chinese architectural masterpiece
that combines both the gorgeous landscape and the treasure
of the traditional Chinese gardening art.
Official zone: Just like the Hall of
Supreme Harmony in the Forbidden City, there must be
a throne hall for the emperor to handle the state affairs
in every Qing imperial garden, with no exception in
the Summer Palace.The Hall of Benevolence and Longevity
is the representation of the official zone. It was first
built in 1750. At that time it was called the Hall of
Diligent Government(Qinzhengdian). The name of this
hall taken from a book entitled ¡°Lun Yu¡±
by Confucius doctrine means: those who are benevolent
can enjoy a long life. This hall was the place where
Emperor Guangxu and Empress Dowager Cixi held audience
and handled state affairs when they were in the Summer
Living quarters: The representation
of the living quarters is the Hall of Happiness and
Longevity for Empress Dowager Cixi and the Hall of Jade
Ripples. There are many history stories and legend that
related to the construction of the living quarters.
And you could view many decorated and installation in
Sightseeing area: Covering a larger
part of the Summer Palace, opens up the border of the
lake. A breeze fluttering, waves gleam and willows kiss
the ripples of the vast water. In this comfortable area
there are the Eastern and Western Banks, the Seventeen-Arch
Bridge, Nanhu Island, and so on. On the western bank
float six distinct bridges amongst which the Jade-Belt
Bridge is the most beautiful.
On November 30th 1998, it was placed
on the List of World Cultural Heritage by the World
Cultural Heritage Committee of UNESCO.