The Summer Palace, known as the "Royal Garden Museum", has a long cultural heritage like the Forbidden City. Qingyi Garden was destroyed by British and French troops during the Second Opium War in the 1860s. The three lakes served not only as a reservoir for the imperial gardens, but also a source of water for the surrounding agricultural areas. After 1949, the Summer Palace briefly housed the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China. He ordered the construction of a palace in the Fragrant Hills and Jade Spring Hill in the northwest of Beijing. History of Beijing Summer Palace. Longevity Hill is about 60 meters (200 feet) high and has many buildings positioned in sequence. The Old Summer Palace was an intricate web of buildings, paths, lakes, gardens, bridges and halls that housed a mighty collection of priceless cultural treasures. Twelve statues with Chinese zodiac heads and human bodies were originally on the fountain in front of the Hall of National Peace in the Western Mansions area. There was also a Long Corridor more than 700 metres long which was furnished with artistic decorations. Copyright 2006-2018 mybeijingchina.com - Beijing Travel Specialist All Rights Reserved. For Chinese people, the Old Summer Palace is not just an attraction. In accordance with the "three islands in one pool" principle for the design of water features in imperial gardens, three islands were built on the lake, namely, the "South Lake Island", the "Mirror of Government Tower" and the "Hall of Recognition of Talent Island". Almost all the buildings were burnt down. Your email address will not be published. Both the Zhengde Emperor and the Wanli Emperor (r. 1572–1620) enjoyed taking boat rides on the lake. Between 1884–95, during the reign of the Guangxu Emperor (r. 1875–1908), Empress Dowager Cixi ordered 22 million silver taels, originally designated for upgrading the Qing navy (the Beiyang Fleet), to be used for reconstructing and enlarging the Summer Palace to celebrate her 60th birthday. The complex comprises lakes, palaces and gardens along with 3000 man-made ancient structures of towers, pavilions, bridges within its vast area of 742.8 acres. With construction of the Garden of Clear Ripples during Emperor Qianlong's reign (1736-1795), the lake was expanded to its current size. Your email address will not be published. In 1750, Emperor Qianlong paid 4.48 million taels of silver, an equivalent of 140,000 kilograms, to invest in building the Garden of Clear Ripples. The other four bronze heads of a snake, goat, rooster, and dog are still missing. The Seventeenth arch bridges, the Hall of Embracing Universe, the statue of Bronze Ox, the Nanhu Island and Marble Boat are the prime attractions within this area. Summer Palace (China) Historical Facts and Pictures. The Summer Palace was created in 1750, originally as the Emperor’s garden retreat in the Qing Dynasty. The palace has three unique areas: Court Area, Longevity Hill Area and Kunming Lake Area. Our History THE SUMMER PALACE is one of Cardiff's longest serving Cantonese Restaurant.