Welcome to Grazioso Princess--Summer Palace
With extensive and exquisite arrangement, the Summer Palace carries an air of nobility. Indeed, it was not a real palace but the Xanadu or imperial garden in Qing Dynasty. The garden is composed of two major items, the Kunming Lake and Wanshou Mountain. It occupies nearly 3 square kilometers, among which two thirds of the area is water. Various scenery spots scatter in the garden, including mansions, pavilions, and other ancient buildings in different styles. In these numerous sceneries, the most famous ones are Foxiang Pavilion, Long Corridor, Marble Boat, 17-hole Bridge and Xiequ Garden. The whole garden integrates buildings with natural sceneries, and combines the beauty of nature into the human creations. It is the masterpiece of Chinese gardens, and enjoys high reputation in the world.
 
History and Culture                                                                                 
Summer Palace was the imperial garden in Qing Dynasty, and now a key scenery spot of China. The garden based on the arrangement and lay-out of West Lake in Hangzhou, and absorbed designs and styles of gardens in South of Yangtze River. Because of the enormous scope and irreplaceable significance, the Summer Palace was regarded the museum of imperial gardens. Before the Qianlong Kingdom, there are four big imperial gardens in the western suburb area of Beijing. However, they were not connected to each other and there was a lake called “Wengshan Lake” between them. In 1750 of Qing Dynasty, Emperor Qianlong made use of the Wengshan Lake and combines the four gardens into a larger one, named “Qingyi Garden”, which was the predecessor of the Summer Palace. In 1860, the Qingyi Garden was burned into ruins during the war. 28 years later, the Empress Dowager rebuilt and named it Summer Palace. In flowing years, the Summer Palace encountered devastation for twice. After the establishment of New China, Summer Palace had been well-preserved. In 1961, it was listed as the key national heritage conservation units; in 1998, it was enrolled in the World Heritage.
 
Seventeen-Arch Bridge
Built in the 15th year of Emperor Qianlong's reign (1750), this 150-meter bridge links the east bank and the South Lake Island. It is the longest bridge in any Chinese imperial garden and was named for its seventeen arches. Over 500 stone lions in different poses are carved on the posts of the bridge's railings. At both ends of the bridge are carved four strange animals. Strong and powerful, they are outstanding evidence of Qing stone carving.
 
West Causeway
The West Causeway is modeled on the Su Causeway of the West Lake in Hangzhou. From north to south, the causeway is connected by six bridges, each unique in style: the Lake-Dividing Bridge, the Bridge of Pastoral Poems, the Jade Belt Bridge, the Mirror Bridge, the Silk Bridge and the Willow Bridge. Between the Silk Bridge and the Willow Bridge is the Pavilion of Bright Scenery. It was named after the essay, On the Yueyang Tower, a famous piece by Fan Zhongyan, a well-known writer of the Song Dynasty. He wrote, "The spring is peaceful and the scenery bright; the waves are asleep". Peach and willow trees were planted on the causeway so that when spring came, the green of the willow trees and the red of the peach blossoms would combine to recreate the scenery of south China.
 
Tower of the Fragrance of the Buddha
Originally built during the reign of Emperor Qianlong and burned down by the Anglo-French Allied Forces in 1860, Tower of the Fragrance of the Buddhawas rebuilt in its original style during Emperor Guangxu’s reign (1875-1908). The octahedral tower has three stories with four-layered eaves, altogether 36.44 meters high. Standing upright on a 20 meter-high stone foundation, it constitutes the center of the Summer Palace landscape and serves to accentuate its magnificence. A statue of the thousand-handed Guanshiyin Buddha, cast in bronze and gilded with gold, stands inside the tower. The statue, five meters high and five tons in weight, was cast during the reign of Emperor Wanli of the Ming Dynasty. Set off by the eight imposing pillars which support the tower, it glows with beauty, grandeur and brilliance. Its historical, cultural and artistic value can hardly be overstated.
 
Suzhou Street
Originally called Merchants Street, Suzhou Street was built in the style of South China towns during Emperor Qianlong's reign (1736-1795). A street where emperors and empresses could pretend to go shopping as ordinary people, it was burned to the ground by the Anglo-French Allied Forces in 1860 and restored in 1990. The 300-meter street is built over water with shops and stands on the bank. More than 60 businesses, including a teahouse, a restaurant, a pharmacy, a bank, a hat store, a jewelry store and a grocery store, operate on the bank, presenting a concentrated illustration of the commercialism in South China towns in the 18th century.
 
Admission fee: 30RMB/person (Peak season); 20RMB/person (Low season)
 
Opening hours: 6:30-18:00 (Apr.1st -Oct.31st); 7:00-17:00(Nov.1st -Mar.31st)
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