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The Summer Palace

The Summer Palace, Yiheyuan, is located in the northwest area of the city, and during the late Qing Dynasty was the summer retreat from Beijing's heat for the imperial family and court.

Originally created as an imperial garden by Emperor Qianlong, it was destroyed and plundered during the Second Opium War in 1860. In 1888 the notorious Empress Cixi used the money intended for the Chinese Navy
to build this opulent summer retreat for herself. In 1900 the Summer Palace was damaged extensively once again during the Boxer Rebellion, but was rebuilt shortly after.

Kumming Lake, which is man-made, is available for boat rides during much of the year, but ice skates can be rented during the frozen winter months. Also in the lake is Empress Cixi's famous Marble Boat, China's
Navy during that time.

The Long Corridor is 795 yards long and parallels the lake. Don't miss the fabulous paintings of Chinese history and legend inside the corridor which have been recently restored.

Other highlights are the many pavilions, palaces and halls in this twelve square mile complex, once the playground of the royal court.

The grounds with their extraordinary gardens are a favorite destination of Beijingers and travelers and can be very crowded on weekends.