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The Summer Palace

Updated:2008-06-06 10:19 | Source:

  The Summer Palace landscape, dominated by

  Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake, covers an area of

  2.9 square kilometers, three quarters of which is

  water surface. Its 70,000 square meters of building

  space features a variety of palaces, garden and

  other ancient-style architectural structures. Well

  known for its large and priceless collection of

  cultural artifacts, it was among the first group of

  historical and 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. The Anglo-French Allied Forces destroyed it

  in 1860. The Government of the Qing Dynasty (1644-

  1911) started to rebuild it in 1886 with funds

  misappropriated from the Imperial Navy and other

  sources. Renamed two years later as Yihe Yuan or the

  Garden of Health and Harmony, it served as a summer

  resort for the Empress Dowager Cixi. Known also as

  the Summer Palace, it was ravaged by the Eight Power

  Allied Forces in 1900. The damage was repaired in

  1902. Since the founding of the People's Republic of

  China, the Summer Palace has undergone several major

  renovations. Its major attractions--the Four Great

  Regions, Suzhou Street, the Pavilion of Bright

  Scenery, the Hall of Serenity and the Wenchang

  Galleries have been restored.

  The 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 in a seamless combination that best

  illustrates the guiding principle of traditional

  Chinese garden design: The works of men should match

  the works of Heaven. In December 1998, UNESCO

  included the Summer Palace on its World Heritage

  List with the following comments: 1) The Summer

  Palace in Beijing is an outstanding expression of

  the creative art of Chinese landscape garden design,

  incorporating the works of humankind and nature in a

  harmonious whole; 2) The Summer Palace epitomizes

  the philosophy and practice of Chinese garden

  design, which played a key role in the development

  of this cultural form throughout the east; 3) The

  imperial Chinese garden, illustrated by the Summer

  Palace, is a potent symbol of one of the major world

  civilizations.

  (Source:

  http://www.ebeijing.gov.cn/Tour/ScenicSpots/)

Editor : Zhu Jia

Opening ceremony of Beijing Olympics