The Summer Palace is the largest and the most well-preserved imperial garden in China. It was originally the palace and garden of the emperors of the Qing Dynasty. Constructed in 1750 in the Qing Dynasty, The Summer Palace together with Chengde Summer Palace, Suzhou Humble Administrator's Garden, and Suzhou Lingering Garden are the four famous Chinese imperial gardens. It was listed as World Heritage by UNESCO in 1998.
The Summer Palace is located in Haidian District, 15km from downtown Beijing. It occupies an area of 290 hectares, with the lake taking up three-quarters of its total area.
The design of the Summer Palace is based on the West Lake in Hangzhou with the techniques and artistic conception of gardens from the south of China. Constructed around Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill, this large landscaped and well-preserved garden is regarded as the Chinese imperial garden museum.
The Summer Palace was composed of 8 major projects including the Three Hills and Five Gardens. The Three Hills refers to Longevity Hill, Fragrant Hill, and Jade Spring Hill. And the Five Gardens involve Jingyi Garden, Jingming Garden, Qingyi Garden, and the surrounding Changchun Garden and Yuanming Yuan.
With a great combination of imperial garden features and immersed in the surrounding natural landscape, the Summer Palace reflects the imperial garden principle of "built by men with resources from nature".
There are more than a hundred scenic spots in the Summer Palace including the Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake. The Tower of Buddhist Incense, Long Gallery, Marble Boat, Suzhou Market Street, Seventeen-Arch Bridge, Garden of Harmonious Interests, and Ancient Stage are the most noted scenic spots. In addition, there also are more than 20 courtyards and 3,000 ancient structures, and 1,600 trees over a hundred years old.
The breathtaking view of the Summer Palace is consist of three sections. The Hall of Benevolent Longevity, the place for managing internal affairs, and diplomatic and political activities. The courtyards, between the Hall of Joy and the Hall of Jade Billows, and Long Gallery and Back Hill.
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