The Summer Palace located at the
western outskirts of Beijing , which is about 15 kilometers away
from downtown. Covering an area of 293 hectares, it was the largest
royal park and designated as a Key Cultural Relics Protection Site
of China by the State Council in 1960s. It was listed as one of
the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
Constructed in the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234).During the succeeding
dynasties, it was expanded continuously. In 1750s large scale of
construction was involved. It became a luxurious royal garden providing
royal families with rest and entertainment in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
In the history the Summer Palace was occupied and plundered by foreigners
for two times. In 1860 it was destroyed by Anglo-French Allied Forces.
In 1900 it was ransacked by the Eight- Power Allied Forces. In the
year of 1886 and 1903 the Empress Dowager Cixi reconstructed the
Summer Palace. During the late years of the Qing Dynasty the Empress
Dowager spent most of her time there to deal with state affairs
and entertain herself. After the success of the 1911 Revolution,
it was opened to the public.
The Summer Palace is famous for its picturesque scenery and beautiful
buildings. The mirror-liked Kunming Lake covers three quarters of
the whole area. The Longevity Hill is like a beautiful screen standing
at the bank of the lake. When climbing the Tower of Buddhist you
can have a marvelous view of the whole park. The Long Corridor with
numerous paintings like a ribbon connecting the main buildings.
The Marble Boat with unique style will give you a deep impression.
Definitely the Summer Palace is one must-go for people to visit
The Long Corridor
Garden in Summer Palace
in the Summer Palace
Suzhou Shopping Street in the Summer Palace
Story Aabout the Dragon Lady Empress Dowager
Empress Dowager Cixi , from a Manchurian middle class official’s
family, born on 10th of October in lunar calendar 1835, died on
the 22nd of October 1908, she was chosen as a beauty into the royal
court at the age of 17 in 1851. Favored by Emperor Xianfeng, her
position was up graded. Her original name was “little orchid” but
she was given a name “Cixi” meaning holly mother by the emperor.
In 1856 after she gave birth to a boy, the only son of the emperor
she was conferred upon as concubine. In 1861 Xianfeng died in the
Summer Resort in Rehe, the present day in Chengde so her six years
old son succeeded the throne with the rein title “Tongzhi”, which
meant to rule jointly. When Cixi became the new emperor’s mother
she began to collaborate with the emperor’s uncle and empress dowager
Cian, who was the empress of emperor Xianfeng to kill eight prominent
ministers so as to control all political
and military powers. Since then Cixi could do the “Ruling behind
the screen” with Cian. The two ladies sat behind the emperor’s throne
with a screen in between to tell the emperor what to say and what
to do. A few years later Cian died. So Cixi did this practice by
herself. In 1874 the young emperor died of small pox. But Emperor
Tongzhi had no son to succeed him. Cixi in order not to lose the
power, instead of choosing heir prince, she began to support a 3
years old boy, the late emperor’s cousin, her sister’s son to ascend
the throne. That was Emperor Guangxu. By doing so she could do the
practice of ruling behind the curtain again. After the Bourgeois
Reformation Movement supported by Emperor Guangxu failed in 1898
Cixi put the emperor under house arrest in the Hall of Jade Ripples
in the Summer Palace and Yingtai Islet. So she started to rule the
country openly by herself. It was said that she poisoned Emperor
Guangxu to death the previous day before she died.
Cixi had three ambitions: pleasure, power and luxury. According
to historical records, six eunuchs took care of her jewelers, shoes
and clothes. In 1894 alone, she ordered 135 suits. Her meals were
prepared and served with the most sophisticated procedure. Each
dinner contained more than 100 dishes and all the table wares were
made of gold, jade silver and ivory. Hundreds of people took care
of her life and uncountable money was spent on her daily life. She
embezzled the money, which was allocated for the building the navy
to renovate the Summer Palace for her own purpose. That caused China
lost the sea war against Japan in 1894.
During her 48 years ruling, she did the usual practice to prostrate
before the imperialist power and put down the people’s rebellion
cruelly. The people led an animal’s life. A notorious saying of
her goes like this:” Using China’s resources to exchange favor from
foreign powers in return”. With this political and diplomatic norm
she bartered away the sovereignty of the country, signed many unequal
treaties of humiliation with foreign powers, such as “Treaty of
1900” with eight alien powers and “Yili Treaty” with Russia. But
she cruelly suppressed the people. For example, the 1898 she put
down Bourgeois Reformation Movement in the bud and suppressed the
Boxing Movement of 1900 with foreign invaders.
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