china edition


Summer Palace

Back Lake
Bronze Ox
East Palace Gate
Garden of Harmonious Interests
Garden of Virtue and Harmony
Hall of Benevolence and Longevity
Hall of Dispelling Clouds
Hall of Jade Ripples
Hall of the Sea of Wisdom
Kunming Lake
Long Gallery
Longevity Hill
Marble Boat
Nanhu Island
Seventeen-Arch Bridge
Suzhou Market Street
Tower of Buddhist Incense

The Summer Palace or Yiheyuan is a palace in Beijing. The Summer Palace is mainly dominated by Longevity Hill (60 m high) and the Kunming Lake. It covers an expanse of 2.9 square kilometer, 3 quarters of which is water. In its compact 70,000 square m of building space, one finds a variety of palaces, gardens, and other classical-style architectural structures.

The Summer Palace started out life as the Garden of Clear Ripples. Artisans reproduced the garden architecture styles of various palaces in China. Kunming Lake was created by extending an existing body of water to imitate the West Lake in Hangzhou. The palace complex suffered 2 major attacks; during the Anglo-French allied invasion of 1860 (with the Old Summer Palace also ransacked at the same time), and during the Boxer Rebellion, in an attack by the eight allied powers in 1900. The garden survived and was rebuilt in 1886 and 1902. In 1888, it was given the current name, "Yihe Yuan". It served as a summer resort for Empress Dowager Cixi, who diverted 30 million taels of silver, said to be originally designated for the Chinese navy, into the reconstruction and enlargement of the Summer Palace.

In December 1998, UNESCO included the Summer Palace on its World Heritage List. It declared the Summer Palace an "outstanding expression of the creative art of Chinese landscape garden design, incorporating the works of humankind and nature in a harmonious whole".