The Summer Palace is a large recreational
area which is noted for its gardens, lake and
traditional buildings. Originally built in 1750
and reconstructed in 1886, the Summer
Palace is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site
recognised for its importance as a work of
Chinese landscaped garden design.
One of the most memorable features of the
grounds is the Long Corridor. This intricately
decorated covered walkway is over 700
metres in length and is the longest in any
traditional Chinese garden. A delightful
circuit is to cross Seventeen-Arch Bridge to
South Lake Island and board a boat to ride
across Kunming Lake. This will take you to
the decorative Marble Boat from where you
may return via the Long Corridor.
Temple of Heaven
Built in the 15th century, around the same
time as the Forbidden City, the Temple of
Heaven was used by the emperors of the
Ming and Qing Dynasties for ceremonies
and prayers. The most important building is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, which as the name implies is where the emperor came to pray for a good harvest. Standing on a three-tiered marble base, this wooden building is circular in construction and was built without the use of a single nail. Other buildings include the smaller, also circular, Imperial Vault of Heaven and several pavilions.
The temple complex is located in extensive
grounds containing gardens, trees and
walkways and is a popular place for the local
residents. Watch out for people practicing tai
chi, dancing and playing badminton.