The Summer Palace is a vast ensemble of lakes, gardens and palaces in Beijing, China. It covers an expanse of 2.9 square kilometres (720 acres), three-quarters of which is water, the Summer Palace is mainly dominated by Longevity Hill and the Kunming Lake.
Please don’t be confused with the Old Summer Palace!
Longevity Hill is about 60 metres (200 feet) high and has many buildings positioned in sequence. The front hill is rich with splendid halls and pavilions, while the back hill, in sharp contrast, is quiet with natural beauty.
The central Kunming Lake covering 2.2 square kilometres (540 acres) was entirely man-made and the excavated soil was used to build Longevity Hill. In the Summer Palace, one finds a variety of palaces, gardens, and other classical-style architectural structures.
How to get there
The easiest way to get there is by subway, although there are several buses that get to the Palace.
- East Gate at Tongqing St. and Yiheyuan St.: Beijing Subway Xiyuan Station (Line 4)
- North Gate at Yiheyuan Rd. and Qinglongqiao East St.: Beijing Subway Beigongmen Station (Line 4)
|Ticket Type||Price (CNY)|
|Nov.1 – Mar.31(next year)||Apr.1 – Oct.31|
|Combination Ticket (including entrance fee and the following sites)||50||60|
|Tower of Buddhist Incense||10||10|
|Suzhou Street and Danning Hall||10||10|
|Recommended Time for a Visit||3 hours|
When the Jin Dynasty emperor Wányán Liàng (February 24, 1122–December 15, 1161 CE) moved his capital to the Beijing area, he had a Wang hill Palace built on the site of the hill. During the Yuan Dynasty, the hill was renamed from Wang hill to Jug Hill (Weng Shan). This name change is explained by a legend according to which a jar with a treasure inside was once found on the hill. The loss of the jar is said to have coincided with the fall of the Ming Dynasty as had been predicted by its finder.
The Qianlong Emperor (r. 1735-1796) of the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), who commissioned work on the imperial gardens on the hill in 1749, gave Longevity Hill its present-day name in 1752, in celebration of the 60th birthday of his mother, Empress Dowager Chongqing.
In 1888, it was given the current name, Yihe Yuan. It served as a summer resort for Empress Dowager Cixi, and 3 million taels of silver, said to be originally designated for the Chinese navy (Beiyang Fleet), went into the reconstruction and enlargement of the Summer Palace. This diversion of funds away from the military came just six years before the First Sino-Japanese War, which China lost. The palace was, in 1894, due to be the center of the celebrations of Cixi’s sixtieth birthday, yet, the war with Japan forced her to cancel the elaborate plans.
World Heritage Site
In December 1998, UNESCO included the Summer Palace on its World Heritage List, declaring the Summer Palace as “a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design”. It is a popular tourist destination but also serves as a recreational park.
Find more information at Wikipedia.