Summer Palace

Summer Palace

Built in 1750 as a summertime playground for the royal family to escape the heat of the city, the Summer Palace is a masterpiece of traditional Chinese landscaping. Centred around Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill, you’ll find a harmonious ensemble of intricate pavilions, halls, palaces, temples and bridges, creating a wonderfully pastoral scene that was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.

Damaged during the Second Opium War by the Anglo-French army and restored in 1886 with money that had been apparently earmarked for the navy, the Summer Palace is designed according to the principles of fengshui. Whilst Longevity Hill climbs to 60 metres in height (there are great views from the top), Seventeen Arch Bridge stretches across Kunming Lake to the impressive marble boat. Not to be missed is the Long Corridor, an intricately decorated walkway that is 700 metres in length.

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Summer Palace Map

Eight Facts About
The Summer Palace

The Chinese name for the Summer Palace, Yihe Yuan, translate as the ‘Garden of Restful Peace’

It took 100,000 labourers to create the Kunming Lake we see today

The 1880’s refit of the palace was done by the famous Empress Dowager Cixi – she even took up permanent residence here and purportedly lived a life of utmost luxury

The Summer Palace has been a public park since 1924

From 1949, the Summer Palace housed the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China for a short period of time

The cream of the Beijing Opera actors would come to the Summer Palace to perform in a specially constructed stage for the Empress Dowager

In one of the exhibition rooms you’ll find the first car imported into China, a vintage Mercedes Benz, sent as a gift to the Empress Dowager

The gardens that were to become the Summer Palace were laid down during the Jin Dynasty who ruled in the 12th and 13th centuries

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