The Ming Tombs
The Summer Palace
The Forbidden City
Other Fun Stuff
||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
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.
||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.
||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
A Panoramic view of the back of the Longevity Hill Palace.