Summer Palace is the largest royal park and also the most well preserved in China, reputed as Royal Park Museum. It was originally constructed as the rest and entertainment place for the royal families and also became another important center for the imperator dealing with political issues and foreign affairs besides the Forbidden City in Qing Dynasty's later period. In Dec. 1998, the Summer Palace was listed as one of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO with its multi -term top evaluations both from China and the world.
Formerly, it was called Qing Yi Yuan, construction dating from 1750 and ending in 1764. In 1860, Qing Yi Yuan was destroyed by fire by the Anglo-French Allied Force but rebuilt based the primary plot by Emperor Guang Xu of Qing Dynasty in the same scale. Two years later after the completion it changed the name into Summer Palace.
It is one piece of the greatest integration of the marvelous force of nature and people's outstanding architecture wisdom, built under the basic framework of the Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake and by the delicate artificial landscapes such as the pavilions, the Long Corridor, the Palace Halls, the temples and bridges. In the garden, you can not only see various lush trees and blossomy flowers all around but also the cultural relics of which 40,000 pieces are all the daily used articles by the emperors, queens and princesses.
The Hall of Benevolence and Longevity
Where the Emperor Qianlong and Dowager Cixi handled the state affairs and met with the foreign envoys; displayed with several bronze arts, as bronze Chinese dragon, bronze phoenix and bronze tripod etc. exquisitely carved.
Hall of Joyful Longevity
It is the main building of living quarters of the park. With Kunming Lake in front, Longevity Hill in back, the Hall of Benevolence and longevity and the Long Corridor reachable respectively in the east and west, it is the best site for living and entertainment of the royal families. In the bedroom, there is the red sandalwood wardrobe ever used by the Emperor Qianlong, one of the most prominent emperors in ancient China. You can also see one famous magnolia flower which was transplanted in the Emperor Qianlong's reign from the south China.
The Hall of Jade Ripples
In 1898, Dowager Cixi launched a palace coup and made an imprisonment of his son, the Emperor Guangxu in this hall, the imperial resting palace of his.
Grand Opera Tower
It is specifically constructed to celebrate Dowager Cixi's 60th birthday by offering her operas. The tower has special designs in order to create more vivid scenes. There are "patios" in the roof, "wells" without water and water wells under the stage floor so that faries could descend from the "heaven" , ghost could be out of the "hell" in the supernatural operas type and water could be drawed up to the stage .
The major lake in the garden, occupies three quarters of the whole park area, about 220 hectares. There is the Xi Bank in the lake which imitated the Su Bank of the West Lake in Suzhou City. Lines of peach and
willow trees are standing in the bank. You can also see the Seventeen Arch Bridge, 150 meter's long, the largest bridge among China's classical gardens.
The Longevity Hill
109 meters in elevation, at the center of the park, the hill is a concentrated reflection of multi functions and features of palace, religion, entertainment garden. 9 typical architectural buildings stand erect in the hill, with the height levels rising continuous in 9 layers seen from the wharf in the middle of Kunming Lake.
The Tower of Buddhist Incense
The tower is used by the royal families to pray to the Ambassador Buddha figure there by burning incense. It is put up in a huge square-shaped stone base and the internal structure is so complicated that it is a rare boutique in the architecture area.
The Long Corridor
It is the longest gallery among the classic gardens in China with 728 meters in length and was listed in the Guinness World Record as the world’s longest corridor. In every ceiling beam there are various colored drawings typed in landscapes, flowers-birds-fishes-insects, and figures in reality or in literary allusions, more than 14,000 in total.
The Marble Boat
On the west lakeside of Kunming Lake, it is a boat made of marble and is the only architecture in a western style. 36 meters in length, two layers of castles, the boat is delicately carved in the marble stone. The floor of the boat was paved by tilings, the windows installed by stained glasses and the roof decorated by title carving technology.
Emperor Qianlong built it for his mother to provide her opera entertainment. Now, however, the hall is a restaurant specializing in royal dishes. Heads of different countries have been its guests.
|Suzhou Street Trading|
The museum in the park is the best grade of cultural artifacts exhibition hall among China's classic gardens also with the biggest scale. There are six subjects display sub halls with categories pertaining bronze ware, jade article, porcelain, gold and silver, bamboo carvings, horn and dental carvings, lacquer ware, furniture, painting and calligraphy, ancient works, miscellaneous, etc, which represents the best craft level at that time.
Suzhou Street Trading
It was built specially for the royal family's entertainment in Emperor Qianlong's times. There are various stores selling respectively jade ware antiques, silk, dessert, tea, gold and silver. The particular part lies in that all the clerks in the stores are made up by the eunuchs and maids and the stores only open when visited by the imperial family.
April 1-October 31: 30RMB
November 1- March 31: 20RMB