Longevity Hill, standing beside Kunming Lake
in Summer Palace
, is part of the Yanshan Mountains, with a height of 58.59 meters (64.07 yards). At the front of the hill there are lots of traditional Chinese buildings, from the foot to the top. The rear of the hill with fewer buildings is more famous for its charming natural scenery.
|Longevity Hill || |
|Gate of Dispelling Clouds |
If you want to enjoy the beautiful landscape of the hill to its utmost, you should choose the following route: when you enter the East Palace Gate
of the Summer Palace, go through the Long Gallery
, which is China’s longest gallery in traditional style, winding along the Kunming Lake at the foot of Longevity Hill and linking the halls, platforms and pavilions to form the integrated landscapes of the Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill. Every beam between the columns is painted with different-sized Suzhou style colored paintings.
Walking through the gallery you reach the Gate of Dispelling Clouds at the foot of the hill, which has a yellow glazed tile roof, facing north. Behind the gate you can see the Hall of Dispelling Clouds
. There are broad platforms with bronze statues, surrounded by white marble balustrades in front of the hall.
Heading through the Hall of Dispelling Clouds, you can see the Tower of Buddhist Incense
, standing in the center of the front hill. As the landmark of the hill, the three floors octagonal tower sits on a 20-meter (21-yard) high stone base with four-layer eaves, supported by eight solid lignum vitae columns.
The two sides of the Tower of Buddhist Incense are the Revolving Archives and the Baoyun Pavilion
. To the east of the tower, Revolving Archives is a group of Buddhist buildings, which consist of a main hall and two pavilions connected with the hall through corridors, facing south. The whole group is modeled on the Hangzhou Fayun Temple, built in the Song Dynasty (960-1279). The two pavilions with two floors have four-layer colored revolving wooden archives, which you can turn to represent chanting sutras.
|Tower of Buddhist Incense || |
|Revolving Archives |
The Baoyun Bronze Pavilion is a large and well-preserved bronze building with the most exquisite craftsmanship in China, with the height of 7.5 meters (8.2 yards) and weight of207,000 kilograms (456,000 pounds).The gable and hip roof with double eaves has a Buddhist style small pagoda. The beams, columns, widows and other part of the pavilion are bronze with the same structures, shapes, sizes and crafts as the wooden building.
To the west of the Baoyun Bronze Pavilion, Through the Wonderland
is the two-floor octagonal hall with a pavilion and a hall at each side. Behind the main hall there is a white-stone memorial archway and a small hall with three rooms. The winding, climbing corridors link those buildings. Wandering through these corridors, you can have a broad view of the hill’s scenery, like walking through a wonderland, which is why the complex is called Through the Wonderland.
Let’s go back to the axis. The Realm of Multitudinous Fragrance behind the Tower of Buddhist Incense is 5.13 meters (5.61 yards) high with a yellow glazed tile roof and a white marble base.
On top of Longevity Hill stands the Hall of the Sea of Wisdom
, which is a two-floor Buddhist building. It is an imitation wooden structure, built with arched bricks without supporting beams. The outside walls are decorated with yellow and green glazed tiles and embedded with rows of glazed Buddhist statues. The top of the hall is painted purple and blue.
Through the Hall of the Sea of Wisdom, you can reach the rear of Longevity Hill. You can see the Four Great Regions
, a group of typical Tibetan Buddhist buildings, with reinforced concrete roofs and cement brick floors.
Suzhou Market Street
|Four Great Regions || |
|Suzhou Street Market |
, standing behind the Four Great Regions, is a royal street which imitates the Suzhou water street in Jiangsu Province. The royal market is built for royal families to pretend to buy products and enjoy the Suzhou custom. With the length of 270 meters (295 yards), the shops on the street are smaller than normal. The grey tiles, grey bricks and white washed walls present the simple and natural style of the south, while the construction of archways uses the northern style.
Apart from these landscapes distributed on the axis, you can also visit other attractions scattered on or around Longevity Hill, like the Hall of Utmost Blessing
and Garden of Harmonious Interests
to the east of the hill, or you can just relax and breathe some fresh air in the woods on the rear hill.