China, Beijing, ”Yiheyuan” Summer Palace, the Seventeen-Arch Bridge is the only connection to the Nanhu Island & was built during the reign of Emperor Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty, 1644-1911. The Seventeen-Arch Bridge is an imitation of the celebrated Marco Polo Bridge “Lugou Bridge” in Beijings Fengtai District.
As the name suggests, it has seventeen symmetrical arches, with the largest one in the centre & the others diminishing in size on either side. The bridge is 150 mtr long & 7 mtr high, which gets corresponds with the grandeur of the imperial garden. The bridge is decorated with 544 delicately carved lions. This vivid lions sitting on the white marble balusters, have different expressions & postures.
The Nanhu Island with an area of over one hectare & the largest one of the three islands in the Kunming Lake. The island situated in the southeast of the lake, is connected by the Seventeen-Arch Bridge. The whole island is edged by laid huge stones & enclosed with carved stone fence. Seen from the distance, the island together with the Seventeen-Arch Bridge looks like a turtle stretching his neck. As turtle is a symbol of longevity in Chinese culture, the similarity in shape justly satisfied Emperor Qianlong, who built this garden in the name of celebrating his mother's sixtieth birthday.
The main structures on the island are the pavilion-style Hanxu Hall is the shelter where Empress Dowager Cixi inspected the navy drill & the Dragon King Temple is said to have been built on the bank in the Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644. Its surrounding land was deliberately retained when the lake was excavated & enlarged afterwards, thus the isolated island emerged.
The grand Tower of Buddhist Incense, towering 41 meters, is the symbol of ”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.
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