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 Essential Architecture-  Peking

The Summer Palace (World Heritage Site)




The Summer Palace is easily accessible from most parts of Beijing. Head north at Suzhou Bridge on the north-western 3rd Ring Road, north at Sihai Bridge on the north-western 4th Ring Road, or south at the northern 5th Ring Road at the Zhongguancun/Beiqing Road exit. Public transportation also reaches the Summer Palace.


1750 (Reign Year 15 of Emperor Qianlong) Qing Dynasty




stone, wood


 Bronze Qilin statue inside the Summer Palace.
 Long Corridor
 View over Kunming Lake towards Yu Quan Hill with Yu Feng Pagoda.
 The famous Marble Boat on the grounds of the Summer Palace.
 Hall of Benevolence and Longevity
 Standing atop the Longevity Hill, the Tower of Buddhist Incense is the highest building in the Summer Palace.
  Kunming Lake with the Seventeen-Arch Bridge.
The Summer Palace or Yiheyuan (literally "Garden of Nurtured Harmony") is a palace in Beijing, China. The Summer Palace is mainly dominated by Longevity Hill (60 meters high) and the Kunming Lake. It covers an expanse of 2.9 square kilometers, three quarters of which is water. In its compact 70,000 square metres of building space, one finds a variety of palaces, gardens, and other classical-style architectural structures.

The Summer Palace started out life as the Garden of Clear Ripples (pinyin: Qingyi Yun) in 1750 (Reign Year 15 of Emperor Qianlong). 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 the same time), and during the Boxer Rebellion, in an attack by the eight allied powers in 1900. The garden survived and was rebuilt in 1886 and 1902. In 1888, it was given the current name, Yihe Yuan. It served as a summer resort for 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 December 1998, UNESCO included the Summer Palace on its World Heritage List. It declared the Summer Palace an "outstanding expression of the creative art of Chinese landscape garden design, incorporating the works of humankind and nature in a harmonious whole."

Entering from the northern gate, the visitor first comes across Suzhou Street, designed to replicate the scenery of south-eastern China. At the top of Longevity Hill stands Duobao Glazed Pagoda. From the top of the hill one can see Kunming Lake to the south and southwest. The Marble Boat is at the southwest foot of the hill, and the Long Corridor runs east to west along its southern edge. Most of the other notable buildings (17-Arch Bridge; pinyin: Shqi Kong Qio) run along the eastern edge of the lake, directly south of the eastern end of the Long Corridor. Other features of the Summer Palace include the Cloud-Dispelling Hall, the Tower of Buddhist Incense and Jade Belt Bridge.