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Summer Palace
  • Originally known as the "Garden of Clear Ripples", the Summer Palace(Yiheyuan) is a magnificent imperial garden located 12 km west of Beijing City. As its name implies, the Summer Palace was an imperial summer resort - an escape from the baking heat of the capital. The site includes more than 100 ancient style pavilions, mansions, towers, halls, temples, bridges and an enormous clear water lake. What is most enjoyable about the Summer Palace
    however, is that it is simply a gorgeous place to relax, escape the smoke and crowds of the city and spend an afternoon walking.
    Its basic layout dates from the 18th century, when it was extensively remodeled by the emperior Qianlong, but in 1860 foreign troops on a punitive raid on Beijing burned it to the ground. It was rebuilt in 1888 under the guidance of the Dowager Empress Cixi, who loved the complex, and diverted funds from the Chinese navy for the project. Then the Summer Palace was destroyed again in 1900 by foreign forces as a reprisal for the Boxer Rebellion, and again it was rebuilt to Cixi's design. Today, it one of China's grandest museum gardens.

    Prior to its destruction in 1860, it was named Qingyi Yuan, meaning Garden of Clear Ripples. After reconstruction, it was named Yihe Yuan - Garden of Health and Harmony. Major attractions of the palace include the Four Great Regions, Suzhou Street, the Pavilion of Bright Scenery, the Hall of Serenity, the Wenchang Galleries and the Plowing and Weaving Scenic Area.

    The Summer Palace includes many interesting and spectacular sites. It's best to spend at least an afternoon or morning here in order to really appreciate the beauty of the place and do it justice. There are also shops and various restaurants and tea-houses dotted about the Palace.