Beijing and China Tour Expert

Summer Palace

  • Summer Palace lies 20 kilometers northwest of the center of Beijing. It is the largest imperial garden in existence in China. The whole Summer Palace covers an area of over 290 hectares including more than 3,000 buildings, such as halls, pavilions, towers and so on. Summer Palace used to be called the Garden of Clear Ripples.


  • ID : 3
  • City : beijing
  • English name : Summer Palace
  • Chinese name : 颐和园
  • Type : popular
  • Theme : Ancient garden
  • Level : easy
  • Kids : Suggested
  • Elders: Suggested
  • Best season : Spring, Summer and Autumn
  • Visiting length : 3 Hours
  • Distance to city center : 20 km

Introduction of Summer Palace

    Summer Palace, formerly known as Qingyi Garden (the Garden of Clear Ripples), located 20 kilometers from the city center.
    Being the largest imperial garden of China, Summer Palace mainly consists of Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill. It covers an area of 290 hectares, the lovely water of Kunming Lake shinning three-quarters of the whole garden.

    Summer Palace is a place to touch traditional Chinese culture especially on architecture. There are more than 100 ancient structures in the Summer Palace, including pavilions, terraces, towers, palaces, temples, pagodas, corridors, stone bridges and plaques, etc. The Summer Palace was built in Qing Dynasty (1636-1912) for emperor and his family with function of politics, residence and recreation. It is known as the "Museum of Royal Gardens".

    The Summer Palace suffered two serious damages by western invaders in old China.
    It was burnt down by the British and French coalition forces in 1860. After rebuilding, it was renamed from "Garden of Clear Ripples" to "Summer Palace".
    In 1900, it was destroyed again by the Eight-Power Allied Forces, and then rebuilt in 1902.

Photo of Summer Palace

  • Family travelers boating in Kunming Lake under Wanshou Hill ( Longevity Hill ) in Summer Palace.
  • Summer Palace photo
  • photo size: 2000 * 1236 px
  • author: Jasper
  • owner: Beijing Xindong International Travel Service Co,.LTD
  • category: Beijing attraction photo

Highlights of visiting Summer Palace

    Kunming Lake, Longevity Hill, Long Corridor, Pavilion of Precious Clouds, Tower of Buddhist Incense, Suzhou Street, Hall of Benevolence and Longevity

Helper to visit Summer Palace

  • Address in English : No.19, Xinjian Gongmen,Haidian District,Beijing,China
  • Address in Chinese : 北京市海淀区新建宫门路19号
  • Tel : +8610-62881144
  • Post code : 100091
  • Ticket time : 6:30-18:00 (April 1st-October 31st ) 7:00-17:00(November 1st-March 31st)
  • Open time : 6:30-20:00 (April 1st-October 31st) 7:00-19:00(November 1st-March 31st )
  • Closing time : Null
  • Location : Summer Palace is around 20 km to downtown beijing
    • Transportation
      • 1.The North Gate(near Suzhou Street) :
        • Public bus:
          • 303, 331, 332, 346, 384, 394, 563, 584, 594, 601, Night 8, or sightseeing 3(Beigongmen Station)
        • Subway:Gate D, Beigongmen Station of Line 4
      • 2.The East Palace gate (near The Hall of Benevolence and Longevity)
        • Public bus:
          • 331, 332, 346, 303, 584 or No.8(Xiyuan station)
        • Subway:Gate C2,Xiyuan Station of Line 4
      • 3.The west Gate (near West Causeway)
        • Public bus:
          • 469,or 539(he West Gate of Summer Palace station)
        • Subway:The West Gate of Summer Palace station of XIJIAO Line
      • 4.The Xinjiangongmen gate (near Seventeen-Arch Bridge)
        • Public bus:
          • 74, 374,or 437(The Xinjiangongmen gate station)
        • 5.The South Ruyi Gate (near Xiuyi Bridge, Xidi)
          • Public bus:
            • 374, 74,or 437 (The South Ruyi Gate station)
          • 6.The North Ruyi Gate (near Banbi Bridge)
            • Not suitable for bus and subway.
        • Private car is the best method if you visit Summer Palace with local tour operator.

Season and Admission

  • High season : 35 RMB/person.
  • Shoulder season : 35 RMB/person.
  • Shoulder season : 35 RMB/person.

Hotels near Summer Palace

  • Five star
  • Aman Summer Palace
  • The Lakeview Hotel
  • Crowne Plaza Beijing Zhongguancun
  • Four Points by Sheraton Beijing, Haidian Hotel
  • Wenjin Hotel
  • Four star
  • Chongxue Hotel
  • Qiuguo Hotel (Beijing Summer Palace)
  • Dayuan Hotel
  • Beijing Xihua Business Hotel
  • Yitel (Beijing Summer Palace)
  • Three star/comfort hotel
  • Beijing Post & Telecom Conference Centre
  • FX Hotel (Beijing Zhongguancun)
  • China Electronics Huajing Business Hotel
  • Morden Star Hotel
  • Kingkylin Club Hotel
  • History of Summer Palace
  • Summer Palace has a history of over 800 years. At the beginning of the 12th century, the Golden Hill palace was built here in 1153.

    Large scale construction of the Summer Palace was taken placed during the Emperor Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). At that time, the Qing Dynasty was in its heyday and China was a powerful Asian country with vast territories. With supreme power and large sums of money, Emperor Qianlong summoned skillful and ingenious artisans from all over the country to carry out this construction work in honor of his mother's birthday.
    It was named Qingyi Garden (the Garden of Clear Ripples) at that time. Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake were already the scenic spots in the northwest suburb of Beijing before the garden was built. The Longevity Hill was known as "Weng Hill" in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).

    After 15 years and one seventh of the nation's annual revenue spent, the Garden of Clear Ripples was completed and served as a testimony to China's scientific and technological achievements.
    In 1860, this vast royal garden was burnt down along with the Yuanming Yuan (Garden of Perfection and Brightness) by Anglo-French allied forces.
    In 1888, Empress Dowager Cixi reconstructed the garden on the same site and renamed it the Garden of Nurtured Harmony (Summer Palace).
    In 1924, the year when the last Emperor Puyi was driven out of the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace turned from an imperial garden to a public park.

    Summer Palace of today is more or less the same as the palace rebuilt in 1903. After several times destructions and reconstructions, the Summer Palace becomes the largest imperial garden in China and ranked amongst the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1998. This old imperial garden now becomes an ideal place for Beijing locals to retreat from the hot summer in Beijing.

Question or Comment

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    • Main scenic spots of Summer Palace
    • Summer Palace mainly consists of Kunming lake, Longevity Hill and the Long Corridor.

      Longevity Hill, which can be divided into Front Hill and Rear Hill, is about 60 meters high. Kunming Lake, which is man-made, is available for boat rides during much of the year, and ice skates can be performed during the frozen winter months.

      The Long Corridor is 795 yards long and parallels the lake. It is the longest walkway in the Chinese gardens with altogether over 14,000 traditional Chinese paintings on the beams and crossbeams. The garden also can be divided into three parts, administration, residence and scenery browsing area.

      The Kunming Lake and Long cordial made up of the scenery browsing area.
      The administration area, taking Halls of Benevolence and Longevity as its principal part, is the place where Cixi dealt with state affairs and received officials.
      Residence area mainly consists of Hall of Jade Billows, Garden of Virtue and Harmony, and Hall of Joyful Longevity.
    • Pavilion of Precious Clouds(Baoyunge) Pavilion of Precious Clouds, also called Baoyunge in Chinese, is located to the west of the Tower of Buddhist Incense. It has another name - Bronze Pavilion. The pavilion was made of bronze, 7.75 meters in height and 207 tons in weight. According to historical records, the pavilion had a polished surface and the bronze fillings amounted to five tons.

      Pavilion of Precious Clouds was cast in 1755. There used to be a stature of Buddha in it for the Qing emperors and empresses to pray to.
      In 1860 and 1900, the pavilion met with catastrophe twice, ten doors and windows, the stature of Buddha and some parts of the pavilion were taken abroad by foreign invaders.
      In 1980's a letter from a British merchant disclosed that the doors and windows were in the hands of a French collector. Later the British merchant succeeded in persuading the American International Group Company dong insurance business in China to purchase them from the French collector for us$ 530000.
      In 1993, the doors and windows that had been scattered abroad for decades were transported back to Beijing.
      Garden of Virtuous Harmony (Deheyuan) Garden of Virtuous Harmony, Deheyuan in Chinese, is also called the Great Theatre Building for the performance of Beijing opera. It consists of the Theatre Building itself and Yiledian (Hall of pleasure smile).

      The building played a major part in fostering the birth and development of Beijing Opera: since the completion of the Grand Theater Building, many performances were held in it in honor of the Empress Dowager Cixi. The Grand Theater Building is known as the "Cradle of Beijing Opera", a three-storied structure, 21 meters high and 17 meters wide on the lowest floor.
      There are trapdoors above and below the floor for "Fairies" to descend from the sky and "devils" to rise up from the earth.
      There is also a well and five ponds under the stage for water scenes.

      Connected with the stage was the makeup tower, a place for performers to put on makeup. It is also called backstage(??̨), in which an exhibition of colorful costumes for Beijing opera, a musical box, and an old piano are now on display. Two rickshaws given by Japan as a gift to Cixi, and a car presented by a high-ranking official named Yuan shikai are also shown here. But Cixi never used this car because she couldn't tolerate the driver sitting in front of her.

      The Hall of Pleasure Smile stands opposite the stage at a distance of less than 20 meters (22 yards). This was where Cixi enjoyed the performances. The gold lacquered throne in the center of the hall was a gift for Empress Dowager Cixi's 70 Birthday.

      Cixi used to sit on a wooden bed by the window to watch the performances, Emperor Guangxu sat outside on the front porch to the left of the entrance and other high officials sat along the east and west verandas, which are changed to exhibition rooms now. In the hall there are four screens symbolizing the four seasons of a year. Peach blossom or peony stands for spring, lotus flower for summer, chrysanthemum for autumn and narcissus or plum for winter.
      Construction of the theatre building started in 1891 and was completed in 1895, just in time for the celebration of the 60th birthday of Empress Dowager Cixi.
      Of the three main theater buildings of the Qing Dynasty, the Grand Theater Building is the tallest and the largest one. The other two are Changyin (Fluent Voice) Pavilion in the Palace Museum and Qingyin (Clear Voice) Pavilion in Chengde, an imperial summer resort.
      East Palace Gate The East palace Gate is the main entrance to the Summer Palace. The opening in the center was for the emperor and empress exclusively.The two side openings were for the use of princes and court officials.Eunuchs and soldiers used side gates to the south and north.The plaque "Yiheyuan", which means "Garden of Nurtured Harmony????, in front of the gate was written by emperor Guang Xu. The stone slab in front of the gate bears a carving in relief of two dragons playing with a pearl, a symbol of imperial authority.
      Four Great Regions Four Great Regions is a massive complex of religious building in a Tibetan-style at the northern slope of Longevity Hill. It was built during the reign of Qing Emperor Qianlong, but was devastated in the war in 1860. The present buildings have been reconstructed in recent years.
      Tower of Buddhist Incense(Foxiangge) The Tower of Buddhist Incense is the very center of the Summer Palace, and is one of the masterpieces of ancient Chinese architecture.
      The tower is 41 meters in height, and is buttressed by 8 solid pillars made of lignumvitae logs. With its complex structure, ingenious layout, towering terrace and convincing grandeur, the Tower of Buddhist Incense was artfully set out by the imperial gardens and beautiful scenery surrounding it.
      The Tower overlooks Kunming Lake and other picturesque spots within an area of tens of kilometers. On the west side of the Tower stands Baoyunge (Precious Cloud Pavilion).
      Kunming Lake Kunming Lake was originally called Wengshan Lake. In 1749, Emperor Qianlong ordered the construction of Qingyi Garden, the predecessor of the Summer Palace. Involving nearly 10,000 laborers, the lake was expanded and turned into a peach-shaped reservoir, the first of its kind for Beijing.

      From 1990 to 1991, the Beijing Municipal Government ordered the first dredging of the lake in 240 years. Involving 200,000 men and hundreds of dredgers and other tools, a total of 652,600 cubic meters of sludge was dredged and 205 bombs dropped by the Japanese during the Anti-Japanese War were removed.
      The Western Causeway and a shorter dike divide Kunming Lake into three areas that contain South Lake Island, Seaweed-Viewing Island and Circle City Island. The three islands represent three mountains in ancient Chinese mythology, i.e. Penglai, Fangzhang and Yingzhou.

      This peculiar method of incorporating a lake and three mountains within a single garden was a brainchild of Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty more than 2,000 years ago, bearing testimony to feudal monarchs' longing for longevity. As the legend goes many heavenly elixirs grew on the three mythical islands. Using artificial building techniques, the ancient Chinese built this masterpiece based on the myth to make the mythical one appear to be accessible to humans.

      The Summer Palace set a precedent for sightseeing by boat. There used to be a large imperial flotilla, of which the "Kunming Merry Dragon" was the most famous. It was destroyed by the Anglo-French allied forces in 1860. To make the tour of the Summer Place a more pleasant one, a large pleasure boat "Tai He" (Supreme Harmony) was built. This double-decked boat is 37.09 meters long, 8.59 meters wide and 10.49 meters high. It can travel at a speed of 9 kilometer per hour. Hall of Happiness and Longevity(Leshoutang) The hall of Happiness and longevity was the residence of Empress Dowager Cixi during her stay in the Summer Palace. Rebuilt in 1889, it consists of four chambers. The east outer chamber was for her breakfast and tea. The east inner one was her dressing chamber. The west inner chamber served as her bedroom and the west outer one was her reading chamber.
      In front of the hall of Happiness and Longevity, there are bronze deer, cranes and vases, representing universal peace. Trees and flowers, such as Magnolia, flowering crab apple and peony planted here are the symbols of homes full of wealth and prestige.

      A big rock in the court of this hall serves as a grand decoration. A Ming official Mi Wangzhong found this strange shaped rock in Fangshan Mountain near Beijing. He wanted to ship it to his own garden inside the present Beijing University sites. His endeavor, however, did not succeed because of the financial problem. The rock was therefore left on the roadside, hence its nickname: "Family Bankruptcy Rock". Later emperor Qianlong caught sight of the rock and ordered to have it transported to the summer Palace.

      The large table in the central hall served as a dining table for Empress Dowager Cixi, who would order a total of 128 courses for each meal although she tasted only a few of them. A big bowl on each side was used to contain fruit to produce a smell of fragrance. There are two embroideries in the central hall, one is of a peacock displaying its full plumage, the other is of a phoenix among 100 birds. It is said that the peacock is the most beautiful bird of all while the phoenix is the queen of birds. Empress Dowager Cixi tended to compare herself to the peacock and phoenix; as pretty as a peacock, and as honorable as the phoenix. That is why these two pieces were placed in her residence.
      The chandeliers hanging from the ceiling of the hall, presented by the Germans in 1903, were china's first electric lights. The palace had its own power station. As Cixi was strongly opposed to the installation of electric lights in Beijing, the foreign merchants turned to bribe Li Lianying, the superintendent eunuch, with a lot of money. And that proved effective, for Li finally succeeded in making Cixi change her mind. Since then the electric lights have been officially used in china.
      Long Corridor The long Corridor actually is a covered walkway 728 meters long with 273 sections. It was first built in 1750 for Qianlong's mother to enjoy the scenes of the lake in rainy days. In 1860, the long corridor was destroyed by Anglo French Allied Forces. It was rebuilt after the original pattern at the end of the 19 century.
      This art gallery starts from Yaoyuemen (Greeting the Moon Gate) in the east and ends near the Marble Boat in the west, with the Gate of Dispelling Clouds standing in the center. There are four octagonal pavilions in between, symbolizing the four seasons.

      There are more than 8,000 paintings on the beams of the long corridor, making it a real art gallery. These colorful paintings can be divided into four categories: human figures and stories, landscapes, flowers and birds, and architecture. Among these the most fascinating part is certainly the 200 odd paintings depicting historical figures, folk and fairy stories and scenes from traditional operas. These works cover thousands of years of Chinese history. The majority of the landscape paintings were done under the order of Emperor Qianlong, who preferred the scenery of South China.
      Marble Boat The Marble Boat, Shifang in Chinese, was first built in 1755 during the reign of Emperor Qianlong. It is 36 meters long with two decks. There used to be a Chinese style wooden superstructure on the top part of the boat, but it was destroyed by the invading troops in 1860. Empress Dowager Cixi had it restored in 1893, adding two wheels, one on each side of the boat, and a European-style superstructure, which was made of wood but painted to look like marble. There is a big mirror on each deck. Empress Dowager Cixi often enjoyed the beautiful scenery while she had her breakfast and dinner in front of the mirror.
      The marble Boat was supposed to be a symbol of stability of the Qing Dynasty, an idea derived from the saying "water can carry a boat, and it can also capsize a boat."
      Hall of Dispelling Clouds Hall of Dispelling Clouds, Paiyundian in Chinese, was built on a high terrace, and has 21 rooms. Inside the hall are a throne, screens, tripods and mandarin fans. On a platform you will see bronze dragons, phoenixes and tripods. At the foot of the platform there are four bronze water vats, the ancient form of fire extinguishers. The hall was surrounded by galleries and flanked by annex halls. In the forecourt there is a pool and marble bridges.

      Built in 1750 and rebuilt in 1890,the Hall of Dispelling Clouds was the place for Empress Dowager Cixi's birthday celebrations on the 15th of the tenth lunar month each year. On that day all high-ranking officials would stand outside the archway and kowtow to her to pay their respects. The hall was lavishly furnished, but Cixi used it only once a year. The arts and crafts on display were gifts from the ministers for her 70th birthday. The two annex halls are also warehouses for the gifts.

      Hall of Benevolence and Longevity There used to be a throne hall for handling state affairs in every Qing imperial garden, with no exception in the summer Palace. The Hall of Benevolence and Longevity was first built in 1750 and named Qinzhengdian (the hall of Diligent Government). This was where Empress Dowager Cixi and Emperor Guangxu held court and administered state affairs.
      The building was burned down in 1860. When rebuilt in 1889, it was changed to its present name, taken from Confucius doctrine--those who are benevolent can enjoy longevity.

      In the middle of the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity, there stands the emperor's throne carved with a nine-dragon design, symbolizing the supreme power of the emperor. The two fans behind the throne, one on each side, represent the dignity of the emperor. In front of the throne are incense burners and candlesticks. There are two scrolls on the wall, one on each side, with a big Chinese character meaning "longevity" in Empress Dowager Cixi's handwriting. The 100 bats in the background of the scroll symbolize happiness, because the Chinese character for "bat" has the same pronunciation as that for "happiness". The two big mirrors on the left and right of the throne against the wall are for the purpose of reflecting evil spirits. The frame of the mirror is made of mahogany. It took 3,600 man-days or one person ten years to do the job.

      In front of the hall stands a bronze Xuanni, a mythical animal which was said to be one of the sons of a dragon. It has the head of a dragon, the tail of a lion, the antlers of a deer, the hooves of an ox and scales all over its body. It was put here because it was believed to be able to distinguish right from wrong.
      The incense burners symbolized power and dignity. When an important ceremony was held, sandalwood incenses were burned in the incense burners, giving off wisps of fragrant smoke. The incense burners of dragon and phoenix shapes are symbols of the emperor and the empress.
      Gate of Benevolence and Longevity(Renshoumen) Gate of Benevolence and Longevity, also called Renshoumen, is the second gate of the Palace area. The annex halls on both sides were used for officials on duty. Inside the gate, there is a giant Taihu rock more than three meters high and was moved from ShaoYuan (the Herbal Peony Garden) in the present Beijing University, which was the residency of the Ming official Miwanzhong and later Prince Morgan's Garden in the Qing Dynasty. The rocks in the courtyard are decorations transported from Tai Lake in Jiangsu Province. Shopping Street Visitors may be surprised to see that this shopping street is almost the same as that in South China. As a matter of fact, this street was designed after the shops along the canals in Suzhou. Originally known as Emperor's Shopping Street, it was built during the reign of Emperor Qianlong. After making several inspection tours to South China and being duly impressed by its commercial prosperity, Emperor Qianlong ordered the construction of this street.

      Built along the Back Lake of the Summer Palace, this street stretches about 300 meters and features more than 60 stores. It includes restaurants, teahouses, pawnshops, banks, drugstores, dye houses and publishing houses. In order to recreate the atmosphere of ancient times, visitors will have the chance to exchange their money to ancient style Chinese coins for use here. Storefronts are trimmed with traditional signboards and ornaments. The commercial culture of the mid-18th century has thus been recreated.
      The imperial shopping street was burnt down by Anglo-French allied forces in 1860. The site remained desolate until 1987, when reconstruction began. It was opened to the public in September 1990.With commercial culture as its hallmark, the Suzhou Shopping Street is a vivid representation of China??s traditional cultures.
      Hall for Listening to Orioles(Tingliguan) The ancient Chinese liken the warble of an oriole to beautiful songs and melodies, hence the name. The hall used to be a theater. When the Great Theatre Building was completed, it served as a residence for imperial concubines. Zhenfei, the concubine of Emperor Guangxu, was put house arrest here after the 1898 Reform Movement failed because she was strong supporter of the Reform. Now the hall is one of the most famous restaurants in China, featuring imperial dishes and desserts. It is a must for many foreign visitors to have lunch here when they come to Beijing. More than one hundred heads of state worldwide have dined here and the late Premier Zhou Enlai has held banquets here in honor of state guests.
      Garden of Harmonious Interest The Garden of Harmonious Interest is on the eastern side of the Northern slope of the Longevity Hill, also known as "the Garden within a Garden".
      The Garden of Harmonious Interest was originally built in 1751 and named Huishan Garden, in imitation of a famous Garden Jichang in Jiangsu Province. When the Qing Emperor Qianlong went to the south for inspections, he resided in the Garden several times and was extremely fond of the architectural art of the garden. Later, he decided to build a similar garden in the Summer Palace. It was renamed the Garden of Harmonious Interest after a renovation in 1881. When empress Dowager Cixi resided in the summer palace, she often came to the garden to fish for pleasure.

      All the halls, pavilions, verandas and bridges in the garden were built around a lotus pond, reflecting the atmosphere of southern China garden. The garden is famous for its eight "interests": Interest of the four seasons | Interest of water | Interest of calligraphy | Interest of painting | Interest of pavilion | Interest of veranda | Interest of bridge | Interest of imitation

      The Garden of Harmonious Interest is basically a garden of waterscape. Spanning the vast expanse of the lake and pools are five bridges, each quite different from the others. The most famous of them is the bridge known as "Knowing-the-Fishing-Bridge. " It is said that more than 2,500 years ago during the Warring States Period, two philosophers named Zhuang Zi and Hui Zi had an interesting argument by the side of a pond. One of the bridges is known as "knowing-Fish Bridge", a term derived from an amusing dialogue between two philosophers, Zhuangzi and Huzi during the Warring States Period (475-221BC).

      Zhuangzi said: "The fish are really happy." Huizi asked: "You are not a fish, how do you know they are happy?"
      Zhuangzi answered: "You are not me, how do you know I don't know?"
      Huizi added: "I am not you, so, I don't know you. You are not fish, so you don't know if they are happy?"

      Chamber of Mortal Beings(Yiyunguan) Yiyunguan (Chamber of Mortal Beings) was where Empress Longyu, the wife of Emperor Guangxu, once lived. She was the last empress and empress dowager of China's feudal system. However, Emperor Guangxu was not the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty.

      The last in the line was Emperor Puyi, who ascended the throne in 1908 at the age of three, too young to be married. In 1912, he was forced to abdicate. During the short reign of Emperor Puyi, Empress Longyu handled state affairs on his behalf in the name of Empress Dowager. In 1911, a revolution led by Dr. Sun Yat-sun succeeded, and the year after, Empress Longyu announced the abdication of the last emperor of China.
      Hall of Jade Ripples(Yulantang) The Hall of Jade Ripples, also called Yulantang in Chinese, used to be the place where Qing Emperor Qianlong spent his leisure hours with his ministers and friends. Later it was Emperor Guanxu's private living quarters and also the place where he was under house arrest after 1898.
      Emperor Guangxu was Empress Dowager Cixi's nephew. After Emperor Tongzhi died, Empress Dowager Cixi made her nephew, who was at that time four years old a successor in order to continue her wielding of power behind the screen. When Emperor Guangxu was 19 years old, Empress Dowager Cixi relinquished power to him but continued to exert considerable influence. In 1898, the Reform Movement took place with the aim of sustaining the core principles of the Qing Dynasty while reforming outdated laws. The movement lasted for 103 days until it was suppressed by Cixi.

      It was here that Emperor Guangxu called in Yuan Shaikai, an army commander, on September 16, 1898, and instructed him to help the reformists and kill Ronglu, a close follower of Empress Dowager Cixi. But Yuan Shikai betrayed him and reported to Empress Dowager the news. Five days later, Cixi staged a coup and put Emperor Guangxu under house arrest here in the Hall of Jade Ripples. Whenever she came to the Summer Palace, she took Guangxu with her.

      Emperor Guangxu was placed under house arrest, which lasted for 10 years. All the back doors were sealed and a brick wall was put up behind the wooden partition on each side of the two annexes of the courtyard. Emperor Guangxu was closely watched by eunuchs. The wall remains intact for tourists to see. The emperor's six earnest reformists were beheaded.
      Temple of Sea of Wisdom(Zhihuihai) Temple of Sea of Wisdom, also called Zhihuihai in Chinese, is located behind the Tower of Buddhist Incense at the top of Longevity Hill. In 1860, when the British-French soldiers broke into the summer Palace they destroyed most of the Buddha statues that their bayonets could reach, although the stone temple itself survived.
      Built entirely of bricks and stone, without a single beam or rafter, the temple is also called "beamless hall". Over one thousand Buddha statues were exquisitely carved in rows in the outer walls. The "Sea of Wisdom" came from Buddhist scriptures, meaning the wisdom of Buddha is as vast as the sea.

      Revolving Archive(Zhuanluncang) Revolving Archive is located to the east of the Tower of Buddhist Incense. This group of buildings consists of the main building, side pavilions and a large stone tablet bearing the inscription "Longevity Hill, Kunming Lake", about 10 meters high, in Emperor Qianlong's handwriting.
      In each side pavilion, there is an octagonal wooden tower on which the Buddhist scriptures were placed. The tower revolved about a central axis controlled by a mechanism below.
      This group of buildings was where the emperors and empresses kept copies of Confucian classics, Buddhist scriptures and Buddha portraits, and it was also the place where they chanted scriptures and prayed. When emperors and empresses came to chant scriptures and pray, they just turned the tower, turning the switch once symbolizing chanting scriptures once, hence the name "Revolving Archive."
      More Photo
    • Value of Summer Palace
    • The Summer Palace, on one hand, is a testimony to the luxurious style of the feudal emperor, and on the other hand, represents an apex in the development of Chinese landscape gardening in terms of scale, layout, craftsmanship and artistic elegance.
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