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The Summer Palace in Beijing, China

Updated on March 30, 2011

The Summer Palace (Yiheyuan) in Beijing, People's Republic of China, is another of the top sites to visit when you are in Beijing. Originally constructed as an imperial garden for Emperor Qianlong in 1750, Chinese artisans worked to recreate some of the most famous of China's architectural gardens so that the emperor could visit them regularly while in Beijing. One of the dominating features of the Summer Palace is Kunming Lake, covering an area of 2.9 square kilometers, which was built from a smaller existing body of water to emulate West Lake in Hangzhou. One legend has it that the Empress Dowager Cixi drowned her lovers in the lake to keep them from talking about her, but the truth of that has never been determined. One thing is known though, Cixi diverted 30 million taels of silver that were intended to strengthen the Chinese navy to reconstructing and expanding the Summer Palace, including the building of a stone marble "boat", which still stands on the edge of Kunming Lake today. The Summer Palace was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. It can be seen with either a half-day Beijing tour or a full-day Beijing tour that will give you plenty of time to explore all of the different areas of this former imperial summer retreat. You can tour the Summer Palace, Beijing and all of China with Beijing Discovery Tours, based in Beijing, China! We are an American & Chinese operated tour company offering exceptional tourism services to the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and all of Beijing as well as fantastic Yangtze River Cruises and Beijing Xian one day tour to see the Terracotta Warriors in Xian. We offer customized private Beijing tours and tours throughout China for individuals, groups & families to experience the amazing 5,000 year-old culture of China. Private group tours are also available for schools and organizations. Please contact us for customized individual and private China group tours and Beijing private group tours.


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