The Summer Palace – The jewel in the crown of Chinese Gardens

The Chinese have long been acclaimed for their astounding talent when it comes to landscaped gardens. The Summer Palace is perhaps the jewel in the crown of Chinese Gardens and has been listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site since 1998 for the sheer ability in merging natural garden beauty with manmade items such as bridges, courtyards, pagodas etc in order to create a site that is rich in Chinese culture and heritage.

Built roughly between 1750 and 1764 by the Qing Emperor Qianlong, it was originally called the Garden of Clear Ripples. The area housing the Summer Palace extends to around 2.9 square kilometres of which roughly two thirds is water. This is mainly the massive manmade lake of Kunming. The rest of the land area is mainly taken up with Longevity Hill which houses a series of buildings and separate gardens.

The imperial Chinese Garden is a symbol of the philosophy that has made the Chinese nation as a whole who they are today. The Summer Palace was given its present name following its reconstruction in 1895 when it was used as a summer resort mainly by the Empress Dowager Cixi who poured in a considerable amount of silver in order to renovate the Summer Palace to exude a majestic aura it still emanates today.

Predominant on Longevity Hill is the Tower of the Fragrance of Buddha rising to a height of 41 Meters. Supported by eight lignum vitae pillars and roofed with glazed tiles, the tower clearly stands out amongst its contemporaries.

Close by is the Revolving Archive on which is etched an account of the history of the garden. The Wu Fang Pavilion as well as the Baoyun Bronze Pavilion – which is made entirely out of Bronze are also worth visiting. Other buildings in the area are Hall that dispels clouds, Seventeen Arch Bridge, Sea of wisdom temple and Temple of Buddhist Virtue.

Visitors to China should definitely put the Summer Palace high on their itinerary list. Whilst on vacation if travellers seek Beijing serviced apartments for their accommodation then the Somerset ZhongGuanCun Beijing with central location and luxury amenities is an ideal serviced apartment in Beijing to consider.

Summer Palace—an Escape to the Harmony Gardens

Escape to the Summer Palace, literally known as the ‘gardens of nurtured harmony’ located in Beijing, China. It is dominated by the Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake, which covers an area of 2.9 sq kilometers. Featuring exotic gardens and ancient architectural structures, the Summer Palace is famous for its vast collection of cultural relics and has been among one of the first historical and cultural sites to be state protected.

The Summer Palace, which was originally named Qingyi Yuang or the ‘garden of clear ripples’ was first built in the year 1750 and demolished by the Anglo-French Allied forces in 1860. Afterwards, the palace was rebuilt in 1886 by the government of Qing Dynasty. However, the palace suffered another attack during the Boxer Rebellion by the allied powers in 1900. It was then recovered during 1902 and served as a summer resort for Empress Dowager Cixi. The UNESCO added Summer Palace to the World Heritage List in December 1998 and was declared a masterpiece of Chinese landscape and design. Lose yourself among the natural beauty and serenity of the hills that surround combined with pavilions, temples and bridges that form a truly harmonious destination.

Apart from exploring the temples, travellers can also hop on a Dragon boat along the river and experience a stunning sail along the river and be surprised with an awe-inspiring view of the Palace. Furthermore, the Grand Pavilion of the Palace is extraordinarily the largest in China, covering an area of over 130 sq. meters. It is octagonal and double-eaved consisting of 24 round and 16 square pillars. Take a walk towards the Longevity Hill and find the Bronze Ox with an inscription on its back. According to Chinese tradition, they believed that tying an ox near a river bank prevents flooding. Furthermore, witness the Temple of Buddhist Virtue, the Sea of Wisdom Temple which is bordered by different other buildings.

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