16 August 1999 Monday
Today, our only destination is 颐和园The Summer Palace. We took the Beijing minibus from Qianmen to The Summer Palace, which was about 45 min.
The Summer Palace situated in the northwestern suburbs of Beijing, it is the most perfectly preserved imperial garden with the largest amount of man-made landscapes and architectures. Longevity Hill and Kuming Lake support each other and form a charming scene. The monument by the bank of the Lake ,Cloud-Dispelling Hall, Gold Water Bridge, the Secondary Palace Gate, New Palace Gate, Pavilion of the Fragrance of Buddha and Sea of Wisdom on the top of the Hill, one higher than the other, all omit glaringly dazzling golden light.
Occupying an area of 290 hectares and with different palatial and gardening constructions amounting to over 3000 bays, the Palace is the outstanding typical garden of China.
Both Cloud-Dispelling Hall and Pavilion of the Fragrance of Buddha are main constructions on the axis of Longevity Hill and were rebuilt after being burned down by the British-French Allied Troops in 1860. Being built on a base constructed with carved marble and surrounded by a terrace with marble railings, the graceful and magnificent buildings were site where emperors and empresses received congratulations at their birthday ceremonies. The octagonal ,3-storied and quadruple-eaved wood-constructed, Pavilion of the Fragrance of Buddha is the highest and largest grand architecture in Summer Palace. The 40-meter-high tower is built on a 20-meter high stone terrace half way up the Hill thus seems to touch the clouds and looks graceful and beautiful.
The Jade Belt Bridge is another light spot. It is a high-arched marble bridge on the West Bank, it had always been the spot where Emperor Qianlong passed whenever he made his boat trip to Yuquan Hill.