Summer Palace (“颐和园” in Chinese) is a vast ensemble of lakes, gardens and palaces. It was royal garden of Chinese emperor in Qing Dynasty, and it becomes a popular tourist destination and recreational park nowadays.
It covers an area of 2.9 square kilometers, among of which 2.2 square kilometers is the surface of the water that is called Kunming Lake ( 昆明湖 ),which is absolutely man-made. The excavated soil when digging for this lake was used to build Longevity Hill that is actually the rest of The Summer Palace.
The Longevity hill ( 万寿山 ) is about 60 meters above sea level and Towers, pagodas, rooms, and other buildings are to be built in sequence along the front side of this hill.
In December 1998, The Summer Palace was included in the list of World Heritage by UNESCO, which declares that the Summer Palace is “a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design”.
Summer Palace Brief History
The origins of the Summer Palace date back to 1153 B.C, when the initial buildings were ordered to be built under the order of the 4th ruler of Wanyan Liang (r. 1150–1161). Followed in 1271, a water reservoir for ensuring the water supply for Beijing was activated and being accomplished. In Min dynasty, the Emperor Zheng – De ordered to build palaces in front of the lakes and made it an imperial garden;
Around 1749, the Qianlong Emperor of Qing dynasty ordered to expanded the lake in the name of improving the capital’s waterworks system, also to be a water source for the agricultural areas nearby. The earth excavated from the expansion of Kunming Lake was used to enlarge the hill, which was renamed “Longevity Hill”. The Summer Palace, whose construction was completed in 1764
The design of the Summer Palace was based on the Chinese mythology about three legend mountains in the East Sea, of which are the Peng-lai, Fang-zhang and Ying-zhou. The three islands in Kunming Lake – Nan-hu Island (南湖島), Tuan-cheng Island (团城岛) and Zao-jian-tang Island (藻鉴堂岛) – were built to represent the three holy mountains in the east sea, while the Kunming lake itself was to be built based on the West Lake in Hangzhou. In addition, numbers of architectures feature the well-known Chinese buildings accross china, such as: the Phoenix Pier features Tai Lake; the Jing-ming Tower features Yue-yang-lou; the Wang-chan Pavilion features Yellow Crane Tower; and the shopping streets were built as an imitation of those in Suzhou and Yang-zhou. There was also a Long Corridor with length of more than 700 meters.
In 1860, Yuan-Ming-Yuan of the summer palace was burn down in the end of the Second Opium War. Between 1884–95, the rebuiding was activated by the Guang-xu Emperor (1875–1908),due to the limit budget, the rebuilding work was concentrated on those of which are in front of Longevity Hill and the dams of Kunming Lake.
Summer Palace Official Website
+86 10 62881144 +86 10 62881077(fax)
Ticket: RMB 30.00 per person on high season, | Through ticket: RMB 60.00 per person on high season
Ticket: RMB 20.00 per person on low season, | Through ticket: RMB 50.00 per person on low season
Through ticket including the entrance ticket, Wen chang yuan, De he yuan, Fo Xiang Ge and Su Zhou Street
High Travel Season: April 1st – October 31st The Main Gate： 06:30 am – 18:00 pm The scenic spots Inside spots: 08:30 am – 17:00 pm
Low Travel Season: November 1st – The next March 31st The Main Gate： 07:00 am – 17:00 pm The scenic spots Inside spots: 09:00 am – 16:00 pm
How to get there
–By bus line: 209, 330, 331, 332, 346, 394, 712, 718, 726, 732, 696, 683, 801, 808, 817, 826, get off at bus stop “East gate of Summer Palace”
–By bus line: 303, 330, 331, 346, 375, 384, 393, 634, 716, 718, 696, 683, 801, 808, 817, 834, S5, get off at bus stop “North gate of Summer Palace”
–By bus line: 374, 437, 704, 992, 481, 952 , get off at bus stop “New gate of Summer Palace”