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.
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.
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.