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Summer Palace

Located in the northwestern suburb of the city, Summer Palace is reputed to be the best preserved Museum of Imperial Garden Architecture in
China. In 1988, it was listed as one of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

Summer PalaceThe history of the Summer Palace dated back to the Jin Dynasty, 800 years ago.
However, it was during the prime time of the Qing Dynasty that the building of the
imperial garden reached its culmination. Like most of the gardens of Beijing, it could
not elude the rampages of the Anglo-French allied force and was destroyed by fire, and
in 1900, it being ransacked by the Eight-Power Allied Force again. After the success of
the 1911 Revolution, it was opened to the public.

Composed of Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill, the palace occupies an area of 290
hectares, three quarters of which are covered by water. The design of the Summer
Palace has borrowed from nature bringing mountains and lakes into a whole with a
variety of palace buildings, temple structures and pavilions and pagodas and other
garden constructions added to create a splendid paradise.

The Summer Palace can be divided into four parts: the Front-Hill Area, the Court Area, the Rear-Hill and Back-Lake Area, the Front-Lake Area.

Front-Hill Area: this area is the most magnificent area in the Summer Palace with the most constructions. Its layout is quite distinctive because of
the central axis from the yard of Kunming Lake to the hilltop. The exquisitely designed and painted Long Corridor, over 700 meters long, links the
buildings together at the foot of the front hill.

Summer PalaceCourt Area: this is where Empress Dowager Cixi and Emperor Guangxu met officials, conducted
state affairs and rested.

Rear-Hill and Back-Lake Area: twice sabotaged by imperialist invading troops in 1860 and in 1900,
only the ruins of a few buildings remain in this area. With verdant woods on both sides, the Back
Lake spreading wide here and narrow there, present a landscape of rivers and lakes similar to
those south of the Yangtze River.

Front-Lake Area: covering a larger part of the Summer Palace, opens up the vista of the lake. A
breeze fluttering, waves gleam and willows kiss the ripples of the vast water.


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