Seventeen-Arch Bridge (Shiqikong Qiao)
|Seventeen-Arch Bridge eCard|
The unique scenery is but one of the stunning landscapes in the Summer Palace. With the styles of Lugou Bridge (Marco Polo Bridge) in Beijing and Baodai Bridge in Suzhou, the Seventeen-Arch Bridge looks like a rainbow arching over the water. There are 544 distinctive lions on the columns of the white marble parapets, 59 lions more than those in the Lugou Bridge. On each end of the bridge is a carved bizarre beast which looks like kylin, an auspicious animal in Chinese legends. With the biggest arch in the midst of the bridge flanked by sixteen others, visitors can count nine arches in different sizes from the middle to each end of the bridge. Number nine was believed to be the biggest yang (anode) number, an auspicious number favored by the emperors. So the bridge has seventeen arches. Including the central arch, there are nine arches from either end of the bridge.
The east end of the bridge is connected with Kuoru Pavilion. and a Bronze Ox just stands off the bridge opposite the pavilion. Beside the pavilion and Bronze Ox are the ferryboat wharfs. The beauty of the bridge can be admired while walking along the East Causeway, and even the bank in front of the Long Gallery.
|The Handrail of the Bridge|
At the same time, the project of the Seventeen-Arch Bridge was almost finished except for a proper stone to fit the gap in the middle of the bridge. Someone advised the project director to find the man who once sold Longmen Stone. The director found out where the old man once lived. Out of extreme happiness, he found the right stone and gave the master some money to move it away. To everyone's excitement, the stone was exactly the right one to fit the gap. Suddenly someone realized, "The old man must be the incarnation of Luban (the earliest ancestor of carpenter) who came to help us to build the bridge!"
The beauty of the bridge varies throughout the four seasons, at dawn and dusk, and also from different points of view. You will get a best shot of the Longevity Hill while standing on the bridge. Lions sculptures with different postures and expressions are also perfect images favored by many photographers. The bridge set in willows and undulating waves in windy springs, making the bridge appear to sway like a pearl necklace. In addition, the hill side of Longevity Hill is a good place to see the bridge from afar. Most travelers would like to enter the Summer Palace through the North Palace Gate, East Palace Gate and the Newly-Built Palace Gate (Xinjiangongmen). The last one is the closest to Seventeen-Arch Bridge.
Next: Nanhu Island
Related Link: Summer Palace Travel Tips