Top Tours Attractions
The Summer Palace
|the Summer Palace|
The Summer Palace is located on the northwest suburbs of Beijing, about 20 kilometers away from the center of the city. The Summer Palace is the most beautiful and the largest imperial garden existing in China and it is the best-preserved imperial garden in the world. In December 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." It is a popular tourist destination but also serves as a recreational park
The Summer Palace covers an area of 290 hectares, which the lake occupies the three-fourths. The whole garden can be divided into three parts: the area was for political activities, resting places of the emperor and empress, and sightseeing areas.
The Summer Palace was first built as an imperial garden at the beginning of 12th century in the Jin Dynasty. The construction continued to the Yuan and Ming dynasties. In the Qing Dynasty, the building of imperial gardens reached its culmination. During Emperor Qianlong’s reign, the famous ‘Three Hills and Five Gardens’ were built on the northwest suburbs of Beijing. The Summer Palace was a part of it and at that time was called the Garden of Clear Ripples. In 1860, the Anglo-French Allied Forces invaded Beijing. The ‘Three Hills and Five Gardens’ were burnt down to ashes.
In 1888, the Empress Dowager Cixi spent the navy fund having the Garden of Clear Ripples rebuilt. And then she renamed it the Garden of Nurtured Harmony (Summer Palace).
In 1900, the Allied Forces of Eight Powers invaded Beijing. The Summer Palace was once again severely damaged. It was rebuilt again in 1902. Since then Empress Dawager Cixi stayed in Summer Palace during April to October every year.
In 1924, the Last Emperor Puyi was driven out of the palace, after that, the Summer Palace was turned into a public park.