China, Beijing, ”Yiheyuan” the Summer Palace, located in the north-western outskirts of Beijing. The garden from early 1750 is the largest & most celebrated imperial garden in China & had once been a summer resort for the emperors. It is acclaimed as a museum of gardens in China, for a visit to this garden bestow on sightseers a glimpse of representative scenes all over China.
The palace features hundreds of architecturally distinct buildings, halls, pavilions, pagodas, bridges & corridors dispersed among magnificent, elegant gardens. It has an area of 290 hectares, three quarters of which is water. The palace has three unique areas, Court Area, Longevity Hill Area & Kunming Lake Area.
The garden was originally named “Qingyi” the Garden of Clear Ripple, was a summer resort for the emperors in the Qing Dynasty, 1644-1911. In 1860, the garden was burnt down by the Anglo-French Allied Forces. In 1866, Empress “Dowager Cixi” rebuilt the garden using embezzled funds from the imperial navy & named it the Summer Palace. In 1900, during the Boxer Rebellion, the Eight-Power Allied Force ransacked the palace, after another rebuilding in 1903, the garden was restored to its original beauty & magnificence. As the grandest garden in China, it was added to the World Culture Heritage list in 1998.
The Court Areas are “Donggongmen” the East Palace Gate opens into the Court Area, inside is a group of typical courtyard houses connected by porches. “Renshoudian” the centre building is the Hall of Benevolence & Longevity where Emperor “Guangxu”, the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty, held court & conducted official business during his stay at the garden, an exquisitely carved screen; a bronze dragon & bronze phoenix are on display. To the northwest are three halls, ”Yulantang” the Hall of Jade Ripples where Guangxu lived, “Deheyuan”, the Hall of Virtue & Harmony the biggest theatre in the Qing Dynasty & “Leshoutang” the Hall of Joyful Longevity a splendid residence of Empress Dowager Cixi. To the northeast is the Garden of Harmony & Enchantment, where the emperors spent their leisure time fishing.
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