Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Summer Palace






Helpful info:
Admission fee: CNY 25 (Nov - Mar), CNY 35 (Apr - Oct)
Opening hours: 07:00 - 17:00 (Nov - Mar), 06:30 - 18:00 (Apr - Oct)
Visit time: 1:30 hours
Bus route: 375, 394, 718, 732, 801, 808, 907

Constructed during the Jin Dynasty the Summer Palace is about 15 kilometres North of the city centre. Giving pleasure to the emperors and their families for countless dynasties it was given over to the public to enjoy after the revolution of 1911.

Having twice been destroyed and reconstructed it consists mainly of Longevity Hill in the North and Kunming Lake to the South which takes up more than three quarters of the whole garden.
We can divide the Summer Palace into 4 areas. These are the court area, the front hill area, the front lake area and finally the rear hill and back lake area. The Summer Palace is considered to be the archetypal Chinese Garden and there are over 3,000 structures of pavilions, bridges and towers.

Some of the most important buildings are situated on the front hill area including the Hall and the Gate of Dispelling Clouds, the Hall of Moral Glory and the Tower of Buddhist Incense among many others. The rear hill area although containing fewer buildings has its own tranquil landscape. With winding paths and dense trees the area delights the visitor with treasures such as Garden of Harmonious Interest and the 300 metres long Suzhou Market Street, lined with over 60 shops and built with blue-grey tiles and bricks.

When entering the court area by the East palace gate visitors are rewarded with the view of the main palace buildings including the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity, the Hall of Jade Ripples, the Hall of virtue and Harmony and the Hall of Joyful Longevity.

Finally turning to the front lake area we have a marvellous view of the lake. Located on the Southern bank of the lake is the 17 arch bridge spanning more than 150 metres. It is embellished by carved stone lions sitting on top of the stone columns. At one end stands an octagonal pavilion and close by lies a bronze ox whose head, raised towards the lake, is used to symbolise the control of flooding.
One of the most graceful and tranquil areas, the Summer Palace is a natural place for the visitor to relax and recharge their batteries.

text taken from accommodation olympic games

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