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History of the Summer Palace

2016-03-16 10:02:37Share:

  The Summer Palace in Beijing has a history of over 800 years, which goes back to the Liao and Jin Dynasties. It was first built at the beginning of the 12th century. In 1153, when the Jin Dynasty made Beijing its central capital(at that time Beijing was called Yanjing), they started to build a temporary palace on the present site of the summer palace where the hill was called Golden Hill, so the palace was called Golden Hill Palace. The lake located at the foot of the Golden Hill got its water from the Jade Spring Hill and was called Golden Water Pond.

 

The Summer Palace, Beijing.

 

  In the Yuan Dynasty (1206~1368), the name of the hill was changed to Jar Hill, because it was said that an old man had dug up a jar from the hill. And then the lake was called Jar Hill Pond. In order to develop the water transportation system in the Yuan Great Capital, the Yuan Emperor Kublai khan (reigned1260~1294) ordered Guo shoujing, a famous hydraulic expert to supervise the project of bringing water from Shenshan Mountain in Changping, in the northern outskirts of Beijing, to the Jade Spring Hill which was to the west of the summer palace. Then the water was brought to Jar Hill Pond which was expanded into a vast pool, and finally the water was led to the city of Yuan Great Capital.

 

  In the early Ming Dynasty (1368~1644), it was called West Lake. Later, Emperor Hongzhi, the 9th emperor of the Ming Dynasty, built Yuanjing Temple on the Jar Hill in1494 to pray for longevity for his wet nurse. Following that, emperor Zhengde, the 10th emperor of the Ming Dynasty, who was fond of visiting the outstanding palaces with natural beauty, named this area the wonderful imperial garden and then built an imperial residence by the lake. So the natural beauty of the hill and pond became the most ideal palace for the emperor.

 

The Summer Palace, Beijing.

 

  All this wonderful scenery and structures made a good foundation and offered a great advantage for the later garden of clear ripples in the Qing Dynasty.