The Summer Palace, also known as Yiheyuan literally "Gardens of Nurtured Harmony" which is located in the northwestern outskirts of Beijing, is the largest and most famous imperial garden in China. As a major spot to travel, the Summer Palace was listed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO in December 1998 declaring it "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." The Summer Palace was first constructed in 1750 as a summer resort for the emperors in the Qing Dynasty. It was built for Emperor Qianlong's mother's 60th birthday, and survived from several major damages a couple of times in late Qing.
The Summer Palace is an icon of classical Chinese architecture in terms of both garden design and construction. It best illustrates the guiding principle of traditional Chinese garden design:"The works of men should match the works of Heaven". It also shows China's great diversity of landscapes and architectures.A tour there would easily take one hours to stoll in the picturesque imperial garden. Occupying an area of 290 hectares with water making three quarters of it, the Summer Palace consists of three functional areas: Court Area, Longevity Hill Area and Kunming Lake Area. Many architectural features in the Summer Palace, such as Kunming Lake and the Long Corridor, were created to imitate sites of outstanding beauty from all over China.
Similarly, the temples in the Summer Palace were built into Tibetan Buddhism style in the same way as the temples in the Chengde Mountains had been built around the same time because the imperial families of Qing Dynasty were great believers of Tibetan Buddhism. The Summer Palace is dominated by Longevity Hill and the Kunming Lake. The Kunming Lake is an imitation of the West Lake in Hangzhou, and the soil excavated from the lake was piled to make the Longevity Hill higher, which makes the bird's view of the Summer Palace layouts a bat flying over a peach. Nowadays, the Summer Palace is not only a popular tourist attraction for travellers home and abroad to travel but also a recreational park for the locals.
Opening Hours:07:00-17:00 (Nov.1-Mar.31); 06:30-18:00 (Apr.1-Oct.31)