Summer Palace surrounded by the picturesque
landscape of Longevity Hill and Kunming
Lake, covers an area of 2.9 square kilometers,
three quarters of which is water. The 70,000
square meter building features numerous
palaces, gardens and other ancient-style
architectural structures. Because of its
large and priceless collection of cultural
artifacts, it was among the first cultural
heritage sites in China to be placed under
special state protection.
The Summer Palace, originally
named Qingyi Yuan or the Garden of
Clear Ripples, was first constructed
in 1750 but was destroyed and rebuilt
several times. After the Anglo-French
Allied Forces destroyed it in 1860,
the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) rebuilt
it in 1886 and renamed it Yihe Yuan
or the Garden of Health and Harmony.
It served as a summer resort for the
Empress Dowager Cixi. In 1900, it
was ravaged by the Eight Power Allied
Forces and then repaired in 1902.
Since the founding of the People's
Republic of China, the Summer Palace
has also undergone several major renovations.
It has many popular attractions such
as the Four Great Regions, Suzhou
Street, the Pavilion of Bright Scenery,
the Hall of Serenity and the Wenchang
Summer Palace is a monument to classical
Chinese architecture, in terms of both garden
design and construction. Incorporating scenes
from surrounding landscapes, it radiates
not only the grandeur of an imperial garden
but also the beauty of nature shown by Chinese
architectural style. It was placed on UNESCO¡¯s
World Heritage Sites list in December 1998
and has always been a favorite Beijing attraction.