The Summer Palace

Situated in western outskirts of Beijing, the summer palace, named as Qingyiyuan, covers an area of 290 hectares, three quarters of which is made up of shallow lakes.

History
The history of the Summer Palace dates back about 800 years to the Jin Dynasty. Twice sacked by foreign armies in 1860s and 1900s, the Palace was twice rebuilt by the indefatigable Empress Cixi. From then on the summer palace became an important political center of the Qing dynasty.Summer Palace

Reputation
With Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill as her main body, imitating to the landscape of West Lake in Hangzhou, the summer palace is a large-scale imperial garden full of traditional Chinese garden arts. Moreover, the summer palace is the last and also the only one existing imperial garden.

As the perfect combination of all Chinese garden design skills, the summer palace can nearly show every single type of Chinese garden to the tourists.

Among the ancient architectures in the garden, the Covered walkway, Tower of Buddhist Incense, the Marble Boat, the 17-Arch Bridge and Grand Theatre are the most famous ones and well known to visits both home and abroad.In December 1998,UNESCO ranked the Summer Palace in its World Heritage List, namely, it declared the Summer Palace as "a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design".

Structure
The summer palace consists of three major parts according to different use. They are the political area, living area and the area for amusement. The main building of the political area is Ren Shou Tang, which is the palace for Empress Dowager Ci'xi and Emperor Guangxu to handle state affairs and receive foreign envoys. The living area primarily consists of Le Shou Tanng and Yu Lan Tang. It was used to be the living area for Empress Dowager Ci'xi, Emperor Guangxu znd his concubines. And the Covered Walkway, Rear Hill and Rear Lake were used as large areas for the imperial family to relax.

Popular spot
Ting Li Guan, where the Dowager Empress watched opera, is now a restaurant serving dishes cooked with the recipes from the royal kitchen. This place attracts a great many of celebrated people. Among them, Queen Elizabeth, Henry Kissinger, George Schultz and Tanaka visited the restaurant when they came to china.

Tips:
1. The peak season for visiting is from April to October and Sunny day offers you the best lake scenery.
2. It is better for tourists to wear comfortable shoes for a long walk.
3. Most sights provide tourists with ancient costume; you can rent them to take photos with your own camera.

Traffic: About 20 buses go to Yiheyuan from all parts of Beijing, stopping at the park's east, north or south gate. These include buses No. 301, 303, 332, 374, 375, 726, 826, 801 and 808;