Summer Palace (Yiheyuan)
The construction started in 1750 as a luxurious royal garden for royal families to rest and entertain. It later became the main residence of royal members in the end of the Qing Dynasty. However, like most of the gardens of Beijing, it could not elude the rampages of the Anglo-French Allied Force and was destroyed by fire. According to historical documents, with original name as 'Qingyi Garden' (Garden of Clear Ripples), the Summer Palace (Yiheyuan) was renamed after its first reconstruction in 1888. It was also recorded that Empress Dowager Cixi embezzled navy funds to reconstruct it as a resort in which to spend the rest of her life. In 1900, Yiheyuan suffered another hit by the Eight-Power Allied Force and was repaired in the next two years. In 1924, it was open to the public. It ranked amongst the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1998, as well as one of the first national AAAAA tourist spots in China.
Yiheyuan radiates fully the natural beauty and the grandeur of royal gardens. Composed mainly of Longevity Hill (Wanshou Shan) and Kunming Lake, it occupies an area of 300.59 hectares (742.8 acres). There are over 3,000 man-made ancient structures which count building space of more than 70,000 square meters, including pavilions, towers, bridges, corridors, etc. It can be divided into four parts: the Court Area, Front Hill Area, Rear Hill Area and Lake Area.
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This is the most magnificent area with the most constructions. It is symmetrically laid out in east and west many delicate buildings and graceful gardens with the south-facing Tower of Buddhist Incense as the central axis. Walking up to the hilltop, on which lots of important buildings are positioned, including Hall of Dispelling Clouds, Hall of Moral Glory, Baoyun Bronze Pavilion, Revolving Archives, Hall of the Sea of Wisdom, etc.
The area covers a larger part, and opens up the vista of Kunming Lake, as well as the sights around Back Lake (Houxi River). East Causeway of the lake is connected to the West Causeway by Long Gallery, which both were interspersed with pavilions, bridges and wharfs. Famous attractions amongst this area are numerous, including Seventeen-Arch Bridge, Bronze Ox, Nanhu Island, Hall of Embracing the Universe, Spacious Pavilion, Pavilion of Bright Scenery, Marble Boat, Suzhou Market Street, etc. As breeze fluttering, waves gleam and willows kiss the ripples of the vast water, the highlights can't be let off from any of the delightful scenery above.
It is quiet as compared to Front Hill Area. Most constructions were never able to be repaired after wars, only a few ruins are left. In the axis of Rear Hill Area, there used to be a religious building group-Houda Temple, a composite structure with both Han and Tibetan characters. Although the constructions are fewer here, it has a unique landscape with dense green trees and winding paths. Strolling here, visitors can feel a rare tranquility and elegance. Famous scenic spots include Garden of Harmonious Interests, Hall of Increasing Longevity, Four Great Regions, Presence of Virtue Temple and Hall of Serenity, etc.
Travel Tips FAQs Ecard
Tourists can enter the palace from the North Palace Gate, the East Palace Gate, the New Palace Gate and the West Palace Gate.
Take bus 330, 331, 332, 346, 508, 579, 584, 601, 608 or 696, get off at Yiheyuan Station and then walk west to the East Palace Gate.
Take bus 469 or 539 and get off at Yiheyuan West Palace Gate Station.
Take bus 331, 332, 333(内), 333(外), 375, 432, 438, 498, 508, 579, 584, 594, 601, 664, 697, Te 18, Te 19, Te 6, Yuntong 106, Yuntong 114 or Yuntong 118, get off at Yiheyuanlu Dongkou Station (The Eastern End of Yiheyuan Road) and then walk west to the East Palace Gate.
Take bus 303, 330, 331, 346, 375, 563, 584 or 594, and get off at Yiheyuan North Palace Gate Station.
Take bus 74, 374, 437 or 952 and get off at Xin Jian Gong Men (Yiheyuan New Palace Gate) Station.
Subway Line 4: get off at Beigongmen Station (Beigongmen means the North Palace Gate); or get off at Xiyuan Station, get out of the station from Exit C2 (southwest exit) and walk west to the East Palace Gate.
Beijing Bus / Subway Search
|Ticket Type||Price (CNY)|
|April 1 to October 31||November 1 to next March 31|
|Combination Ticket (including entrance fee and the following sites)||60||50|
|Tower of Buddhist Incense||10||10|
|Suzhou Street and Danning Hall||10||10|
|Opening Hours||06:30 - 18:00 |
* Scenic spots are open from 08:30 to 17:00.
|07:00 - 17:00 |
* Scenic spots are open from 09:00 to 16:00.
|Recommended Time for a Visit||3 hours|