summer palace

  

The Summer Palace, also named Yihe Yuan, is located a few kilometres far from Beijing city centre; it was the place where the emperor and his court moved during summer to escape the hot temperatures. This royal residence is surrounded by a huge garden; in the XVIII the emperor decided to make Kunming lake bigger: the lake and the Longevity Hill dominate the whole garden. In the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity (Renshou Dian), the main government building of the Summer Palace the emperor Guangxu and the empress Cixi handled court affairs, accepted laudations and received foreign diplomats. The Wenchang Tower (Wenchang Ge) is the largest of the six forts built at the gate of the Summer Palace. The marble boat, or Boat of Purity and Ease, is a pavilion made in reality of painting lumber to resemble marble: it was built with funds assigned to create a new Royal Navy. One building worked as theatre: the Beijing Opera Theatre performed its shows for the empress Cixi and her court.



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