Six Qing Emperors at the Old Summer Palace2016-03-16 15:16:02Share:
There were 6 emperors during Qing dynasty who lived in and constructed the old Summer Palace: Emperor Kangxi, Yongzheng, Qianlong, Daoguang, Jiaqing and Xianfeng.
The Old Summer Palace, located on the northwest outskirts of Beijing and one li (500 meters) away from the north of Changchun Garden, was first taking its original shape in Kangxi 6 years (1707 AD). In Kangxi 48 years (1709), he gifted the park to his fourth child (later known as Emperor Yongzheng), and titled the garden "Old Summer Palace".
After Emperor Yongzheng ascended the throne in 1723, he ordered to build more palaces and gardens in the south of Old Summer Palace, broadening the park area from 600 mu to more than 3,000 mu. Since then, the Old Summer Palace, to the Qing dynasty’s emperors, was not only a tour spot for recuperate and entertainment, but also a place where they can receive ministers and foreign envoys as well as handling daily affairs.
During 60 years of Emperor Qianlong’s reign, he had adjusted the landscape and added building groups in the old Summer Palace. At that time, he spent 10 millions of silvers to construct Changchun garden and Qichun Garden (renamed WanChunyuan during Emperor Tongzhi’s reign) beside the east and southeast of the old Summer Palace. The three gardens, named as Yuanming gardens, were all belong to the old Summer Palace management minister. In Qianlong 35 years (1770), the Yuanming gardens’ pattern was basically formatted.
During the reign of emperor Jiaqing, he mainly repaired and expanded Yichun Garden, making it one of the main residence area.
And when it comes to emperor Daoguang, although the state power was declining and lack of financial resources, he has never given up the renovation and decoration of the Yuanming Garden. In order to collect enough money to decorate the garden, he not only removed the displays of Wanshou Mountain, fragrant hill as well as Yuquan Hill, but also stopped to go to the Rehe summer resort and the Mulan hunting field.
In august of Emperor Xianfeng decade (1860), British and French forces invaded Beijing. On October 6, after the occupation of the old Summer Palace, the officers and soldiers were frantically begin to looting and destruction. To force the Qing government to accept unequal treaties as soon as possible, the British minister Lord Elgin and the British commander Grant command Mitchell to led three thousand five hundred invaders reach the old Summer Palace and set in on fire. The fire lasts for three days and three nights.
Emperor Tongzhi(1862~1874) prepared to rebuild the old Summer Palace for the residence of the Empress Dowager Cixi. Due to financial difficulties, they had no choice but to rebuild other buildings. In 1900, the the Eight-Power Allied Forces invaded Beijing and destroyed Yuanmingyuan again. After the Qing dynasty, some warlords, politicians and bureaucrats stole and carried away a large number of building materials from the old Summer Palace ,which furtherly pushed the destruction of Yuanmingyuan ruins.
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