Wednesday, December 19, 2018
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Summer Palace

Summer-Palace7The Summer Palace located ten kilometers to the northwest of Beijing and used to be a summer residence of Qing Dynasty emperors. Itis now a public park. It is an imperial garden known far and wide for its architectural grandeur and stunning natural beauty.

Summer-Palace6The Summer Palace, built in 1888, was once a summer retreat and the imperial park for emperors. Have a lakeside cruise on the lovely Kunming Lake, enjoy the magical views of the hills, bridges and pagodas that grace the Palace grounds.

A cluster of grand buildings adorns the middle section of the Longevity Hill. On the slope from the lakeside to the hilltop stand a decorated archway called Jade-Like Firmament in Bright Colors, Cloud-Dispelling Hall, Hall of Virtuous Brilliance, Pavilion of Buddhist Incense and Temple of the Sea of Wisdom. Standing on the top of the hill, visitors command a spectacular view of buildings of different shapes and sizes below, of their golden roofs glittering under the sun, of the placid, huge Kunming Lake dotted with row boats and of the 17-arch bridge that connects an island with the lake's southern bank.

Summer-Palace4Along the northern bank of Kunming Lake runs the Long Corridor with a total length of 728 meters and 273 sections. It is like a necklace for Longevity Hill. Strolling in the corridor, a visitor sees an endless lineup of corridor stands stretching into the distance or curving away elegantly at soft angles as well as Kunming Lake sparkling under the sun. The crossbeams of the Long Corridor are decorated with more than 8,000 color paintings with Chinese landscape and historical stories as their themes.

On November 30th 1998, UNESCO included the Summer Palace on its World Heritage List. It declared the Summer Palace "a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. The natural landscape of hills and open water is combined with artificial features such as pavilions, halls, palaces, temples and bridges to form a harmonious ensemble of outstanding aesthetic value." It is a popular tourist destination but also serves as a recreational park.

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