Summer Palace Facts
Names: Simplified Chinese: 颐和园; Traditional Chinese: 頤和園; Pinyin: Yíhé Yuán;
Area: 2.9 square kilometers
Location: 15km northwest of Beijing's center
Opening Hours: 7:00-17:00 (Nov ~ next Mar) 6:30-18:00 (Apr ~ Oct)
Recommended Time for a Visit: 2-3 hours
Summer Palace Information
The Summer Palace (yiheyuan) is a palace in Beijing, covering an area of 2.9 square kilometers. It is said to be the best preserved imperial garden in the world and the largest of its kind in existence of China. In 1998, it was listed as one of the world heritage sites by UNESCO and regarded as a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design.
The Summer Palace first came into existence in the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234). Constructions of the garden were continuously taken by Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan in Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368), and Emperor QianLong (1736-1796) of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It was nearly destroyed in 1860 and 1900 by the Anglo-French Allied Forces and the Eight-Power Allied forces. In 1903, full-scale restoration and construction was started by Dowager Empress CiXi, making it a "New Summer Palace". The garden was played as royal garden for royal families to rest and entertain until it was opened to the public after the success of the 1911 Republican Revolution. It is now a popular tourist attraction and a recreational park as well.
Covering an area of 2.9 square kilometers, Summer Palace harmoniously formed by natural hills, lake, and over 3000 man-made pavilions, palaces, temples, bridges, corridors, etc. The 60-meters high Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake take large parts of the garden. Most of people spend a whole afternoon here to relax, to stroll around the historic structures, or to enjoy displays at the theatre. If your time limits, do not miss the corridor along the Kungming Lake, which has magnificent paintings on its beams and ceilings. A ten-minute boat ride on the Kunming Lake is recommended in summer time. The energetic ones can walk up to the Buddhist Temple built on the Longevity Hill, which will provide you an overlooking view of the entire front garden.
Summer Palace Travel Tips
Maintenance and restoration activities continuous taken by the government, which means that from time to time one building or another may be temporarily closed to the public.
Summer is the best time to visit Summer Palace. The temperature is freezing in winter; the lake is frozen and closed for cruises.
It requires plenty of walking as it is a quite large garden. Comfortable shoes and protection from the weather (sun or rain) are strongly recommended.
Subway line 4 and 16 stop at Xiyuanmen Station which is near to the east gate of Summer Palace and subway line 4 also stops at Beigongmen Station which is near to the north gate.
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