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Empress' Retreat: The Summer Palace

A Unesco World Heritage Site in the northern suburbs of Beijing, the summer retreat for Empress Cixi who spent large amounts of taxes on building this palace on top of a fake mountain, next to a man-made lake.Situated in the western outskirts of Haidian District, the Summer Palace is 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from central Beijing. Having the largest royal park and being well preserved, it was designated, in 1960 by the State Council, as a Key Cultural Relics Protection Site of China. Containing examples of the ancient arts, it also has graceful landscapes and magnificent constructions. The Summer Palace is the archetypal Chinese garden, and is ranked amongst the most noted and classical gardens of the world. In 1998, it was listed as one of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Constructed in the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234), it was extended continuously. By the time of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), it had become a luxurious royal garden providing royal families with rest and entertainment. Like most of the gardens of Beijing, it could not elude the rampages of the Anglo-French allied force and was destroyed by fire. In 1888, Empress Dowager Cixi embezzled navy funds to reconstruct it for her own benefit, changing its name to Summer Palace (Yiheyuan). The name in Chinese, Yiheyuan, means "garden of restful peace." It served as a suburban pleasance for emperors, a place in the countryside yet near the capital.

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More things to do and see
» The Good Life: Beijing Countryside
» Tai Qi and Kung Fu
» The Forbidden City
» The Great Wall of China

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