Summer Palace: The Most Beautiful Garden in Beijing2016-08-12 16:44:17Share:
The Summer Palace (Yihe Yuan in Chinese) is the most beautiful garden in Beijing, perhaps in all of China. Located in northwest Haidian District, it was once a playground for China’s imperial families who wanted to escape Beijing’s summer heat.
Construction on Yihe Yuan, as it is known in Chinese, began in 1750, but was destroyed a hundred years later when the French and British invaded Peking, as Beijing was known then. Its restoration was not without controversy as the Dowager Empress Cixi embezzled funds from the Chinese Navy to build the Marble Boat, which really isn’t marble but wood painted to look like marble. Foreign armies destroyed the Summer Palace again in 1900, and it was rebuilt once again.
Longevity Hill is marked by a series of buildings situated in a row going up the hill. The halls start out opulent at the bottom and end with gardens at the top. Visitors who don’t mind walking up lots of stairs will be rewarded with great views of Kunming Lake and beyond on a clear day.
Kunming Lake punctuates the Summer Palace. It is entirely man-made, with the excavated dirt used to build Longevity Hill. Travelers with time may enjoy a walk around the lake, viewing various statues such as the Sacred Ox.
Also not to be missed are the Long Corridor, a covered walkway that contains more than 14,000 paintings on beams across the top and sides, and Suzhou Street, a serene streamside shopping area one emperor built for his concubine because she missed her hometown of Suzhou.
Opening Hours: 8:30AM - 5PM
Ticket Price: Admission Y40-Y50; Audio Guides Y30
How to get there?
Bus NO. 209, 330, 331, 332, 346, 394, 712, 718, 726, 732, 696, 683, 801, 808, 817, 826, off at east gate of Summer Palace
Bus No. 303, 330, 331, 346, 375, 384, 393, 634, 716, 718, 696, 683, 801, 808, 817, 834, Special 5, off at north gate of Summer Palace
Bus NO. 374, 437, 704, 992, 481, 952 off at new gate of Summer Palace, Haidain District
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