Summer Palace

May 4, 2008

Tom – Pat left early today for Denver and then Linda and Joe left for the Philippines where Joe has a conference in Manila.  Helen and I took a taxi to the Summer Palace and spent the entire day there.  It is the biggest park in Beijing – and that’s saying something!  It should have been a half hour drive, however our taxi driver didn’t know where he was going.  After an hour and a half we were near the Palace and stopped in traffic.  So, Helen and I got out of the taxi, gave the driver one third of what was on the meter, and walked the rest of the way.


We entered through the East Palace Gate, examined the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity, the Hall of Jade Ripples, the Wenchang Tower and then went to the Garden of Virtue and Harmony to watch a performance on the Great Stage.  I love these names! 

Male performers

Female performers

We proceeded north on the east side of the park – Hall of Nourishing Pleasures, Hall of Celebrating Virtues, Purple Cloud Gate Tower, Hall of Utmost Blessing, Hall of Increasing Longevity, Hall of Magnanimity, Hall of Celebrating Spring, to the Garden of Harmonious Interests.  These are all separate buildings and compromise a fraction of the halls, towers, palaces, pavilions, gardens, gates, and bridges in the park.  From this point I will only give a short comment on each picture.  Here is one example of the of the fabulous art forms

 Garden of Harmonious Interests


We shared a noodle dish and beer for lunch on Suzhou Street near the North Gate, then crossed a bridge

and proceeded up the north side of Longevity Hill to the Four Great Regions complex.

  Roof ornamentation


 The Tower of Dawn Light,

 The Glazed Tile Pagoda of Many Treasures


We reached the Temple Realm of Multitudinous Fragrance at the top of the hill and then came down the opposite side of the hill and hiked back up the south side of the hill through the Second Palace Gate, Hall of Dispelling Clouds,

up one of the painted stairways

to the Temple of Revolving Archives.

This is the original statue from the center roof of the Temple of Revolving Archives

We then proceeded to the Tower of the Fragrance of the Buddha which is the most prominent structure on the hill.  This is a picture looking south across Kunming Lake to South Lake Island (with some of the Beijing skyline in the background) taken from this point.

Returning to the lake, we walked through the Long Corridor – they are not kidding!  It is just under a half mile long and has 14,000 pictures painted on the ceiling.  It is the longest painted gallery in the world.  We liked the Pavilion of Autumn Water, the Pavilion of the Mountain Scene and Water Brilliance, the Pavilion of Clear and Carefree and the Hall for Listening to Orioles on our way to the Marble Boat.  It was built in 1755, is over 100 feet long, and was supposed to imply that the Qing Dynasty was solid as a rock and would never fall (it did in 1911 – the movie “The Last Emperor”).


We took a Dragon Boat across part of the lake to South Lake Island


Here is a picture of the Tower of the Fragrance of the Buddha with the Realm of Multitudinous Fragrance at the top of the hill taken from our dragon boat.

On the South Lake Island we saw the Hall of Embracing the Universe, the Dragon King’s Temple and then walked across the Seventeen Arch Bridge to the Spacious Pavilion and the Bronze Ox –


Whew – a long day!!!

The “Friendlies” advertising this summer’s Beijing Olympics



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