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The Summer Palace


The Office
Training Rooms

The Sites
The Great Wall
The Ming Tombs
The Summer Palace
The Forbidden City
Tianamen Square

Wheat Drying
Silk Street
Street Scenes
Other Shopping
Other Fun Stuff

SPSummerPalaceSign.jpg (28799 bytes) The Summer Palace was first named the Garden of Clear Ripples, which was burnt down by the allied forces of Great Britain and France in 1860.

Reconstruction started 25 years later and was completed in 1895, and the name was changed to Yiheyuan (Garden of Good Health and Harmony).

The design gives prominence to the Longevity Hill and the Kunming Lake.

The Summer Palace's life of leisure was first interrupted by British troops, who marched on Beijing in 1860, during the second Opium War. They entered without knocking, as it were, destroying the original buildings. In 1873 the Empress Dowager Cixi (a nasty ole b____) began rebuilding the Summer Palace for her retirement, and renamed it Yiheyuan -- Garden of Peace and Harmony in Old Age. The present Palace retains this Chinese name.

This picture looks a little bit like Venice, Italy.  The walkway and the homes and shops are built right along the waters edge.

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This pleasant garden spot was a favorite of the Empress.  In the summer time, it was filled with Lotus blossoms.  Unfortunately, they were not in bloom when we were there.
One of the first amazing sites you will see when you come to the Summer Palace is the Long Gallery.   Basically, the Long Gallery is a covered walkway, about half a mile long (728m or 2,238 feet).  What is extraordinary about the Long Gallery is along the underside of it's roof.  Look up and along every pillar and every crevice, you will see the paintings of episodes from Chinese classic literature, flowers, architecture, and scenery.   Because the paintings need to be touched up every 12 years to keep them from fading and the work of the artisans has varied over the years, the intricacies of the art is sometimes lost, but it is still breathtaking to behold.  And to imagine that it goes on for almost half a mile is astounding. 

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During further renovations in 1888, the Empress Dowager diverted funds originally meant for the construction of a modern Chinese navy.  She spent much of this money on the construction of a marble boat on the shore of the Kunming Lake, an act whose irony became infamous soon afterward when the Chinese navy suffered repeated defeats in the Sino-Japanese war of the 1894-95. 
As in most Chinese visitor places, the hawkers were everywhere.  The one pictured here is making picture names.  With a price tag of only $2.50, it was a must-have.

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A Panoramic view of the back of the Longevity Hill Palace.