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Summer Palace

In: Historical Events

Submitted By Yuliya1996
Words 802
Pages 4
The Summer Palace (Chinese Pinyin: Yí Hé Yuán), northwest of Beijing, is said to be the best preserved imperial garden in the world, and the largest of its kind still in existence in China. It is only a short drive (15 km) from central Beijing but seems like another world.
Most people find they need to spend at least half a day here, there’s so much to see and enjoy in the gardens, buildings, and waterways.
You can take a 10 minute boat-ride to see an island temple, sit and watch a traditional Chinese performance in the restored theatre (one of the three great traditional theatres in China), or explore the recreated traditional shopsby the river. The story goes, that former Emperors, or their concubines, used to enjoy 'pretend-shopping', as normally everything was bought for them.
Just wandering round enjoying the different buildings and courtyards, or just taking in the views from one of the many vantage points is a pleasure.
A visit involves plenty of walking, so wear comfortable shoes and protection from the weather (sun or rain) and be prepared to be enchanted. There are many pleasant spots along the way to pause and enjoy this much-loved summer retreat, as well as places to enjoy cool drinks and snacks.
The Summer Palace (Chinese: 颐和园; pinyin: Yíhéyuán), is a vast ensemble of lakes, gardens and palaces in Beijing, China. It serves as a popular tourist destination and recreational park. Mainly dominated by Longevity Hill (万寿山; 萬壽山; Wànshòu Shān) andKunming Lake (昆明湖; Kūnmíng Hú), it covers an expanse of 2.9 square kilometres (1.1 sq mi), three-quarters of which is water.
Longevity Hill is about 60 metres (200 feet) high and has many buildings positioned in sequence. The front hill is rich with splendid halls and pavilions, while the back hill, in sharp contrast, is quiet with natural beauty. The central Kunming Lake, covering 2.2 square kilometres (540 acres), was entirely man-made and the excavated soil was used to build Longevity Hill.
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". Situated in the Haidian District northwest of Beijing, Summer Palace is 9 miles (15 kilometers) from central Beijing. Being the largest and most well-preserved royal park in China, it greatly influences Chinese horticulture and landscape with its famous natural views and cultural interests, which also has long been recognized as 'The Museum of Royal Gardens'.

The construction started in 1750 as a luxurious royal garden for royal families to rest and entertain. It later became the main residence of royal members in the end of the Qing Dynasty. However, like most of the gardens of Beijing, it could not elude the rampages of the Anglo-French Allied Force and was destroyed by fire. According to historical documents, with original name as 'Qingyi Garden' (Garden of Clear Ripples), the Summer Palace (Yiheyuan) was renamed after its first reconstruction in 1888. It was also recorded that Empress Dowager Cixi embezzled navy funds to reconstruct it as a resort in which to spend the rest of her life. In 1900, Yiheyuan suffered another hit by the Eight-Power Allied Force and was repaired in the next two years. In 1924, it was open to the public. It ranked amongst the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1998, as well as one of the first national AAAAA tourist spots in China.

Yiheyuan radiates fully the natural beauty and the grandeur of royal gardens. Composed mainly of Longevity Hill (Wanshou Shan) and Kunming Lake, it occupies an area of 300.59 hectares (742.8 acres). There are over 3,000 man-made ancient structures which count building space of more than 70,000 square meters, including pavilions, towers, bridges, corridors, etc. It can be divided into four parts: the Court Area, Front Hill Area, Rear Hill Area and Lake Area.
UNESCO has this to say of 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 fills the UNESCO criteria in several ways as an expression of the creative art of Chinese landscape garden design, incorporating the works of humankind and nature in harmony; epitomizing the philosophy and practice of Chinese garden design, which played a key role in the development of this cultural form throughout the East; and as a potent symbol of one of the world’s major civilizations.

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