January 5, 2009

The Summer Palace

The Summer Palace or Yi he yuan 'Garden of Nurtured Harmony' is a palace in Beijing, China. The Summer Palace is mainly dominated by Longevity Hill (60 meters high) and the Kunming Lake. It covers an expanse of 2.9 square kilometers, three quarters of which is water. The central Kunming Lake covering 2.2 square kilometers was entirely man made and the excavated soil was used to build Longevity Hill. In its compact 70,000 square meters of building space, one finds a variety of palaces, gardens, and other classical-style architectural structures. In December 1998, UNESCO included the Summer Palace on its World Heritage List.

1. Shiqikong Bridge (Seventeen-Arch Bridge)
2. Long Corridor
3. The Marble Boat
4. Garden of Harmonious Interests
5. Yudai Bridge (Jade Belt Bridge)
6. Back Lake

Shiqi Kong Qiao (Seventeen-Arch Bridge)
Built in the 15th year of Emperor Qianlong's reign (1750), this 150-meter bridge links the east bank and the South Lake Island. It is the longest bridge in any Chinese imperial garden and was named for its seventeen arches. Over 500 stone lions in different poses are carved on the posts of the bridge's railings. At both ends of the bridge are carved four strange animals. Strong and powerful, they are outstanding evidence of Qing stone carving. 

Yudai Qiao (Jade Belt Bridge)
Built during Emperor Qianlong's reign (1736-1795), this high and thin bridge was named Jade Belt Bridge because its body and railings are made of gray white or white marbles which combine to resemble a jade belt. Under the bridge, the Kunming Lake inlet led to Yu River. When the emperors and empresses went by boat from the Garden of Clear Ripples to Jade Spring Hills, they would pass under this bridge.

Stamp Issue: 2008-05-10

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