The Imperial Summer Villa is located in the city of Chengde in northeastern Hebei Province. Its construction started from the 42nd year of Emperor Kangxi's reign (1702), and completed in the 57th year of Emperor Qianlong's reign (1792). It is China's largest imperial garden, covering an area of 5.6 million sq. meters, and with a wall of 10km. surrounding the garden.
The Summer Villa can be divided into two parts: the palace area and garden area. Temples of various architectural styles and Imperial gardens subtly blend into a landscape of lakes, pasture land and forests. In addition to its aesthetic interest, the Imperial Summer Villa is a rare historic vestige of the final development of feudal society in China.
The former was located in the southeast part of the Mountain Resort where the main buildings include Zhenggong (Front Palace), Songhezhai (Pine and Crane Hall), Wanhesongfeng (Whispering Pine Valley), and Donggong (Eastern Palace). The Hall of Danbo Jingcheng (Frugality and Placidity) is the main hall of the Front Palace. It is also known as Nanmu Hall because it was built of the fine-grained fragrant hardwood called nanny. The Hall of Wanhesongfeng standing on a hillock by the lakeside and encircled by green pine groves, is a grand scenic spot.
And the garden area is composed of the lake, plains and mountains. The lake is filled with crystal-clear rippling waters. Three pavilions were built upon a long bridge that spans the lake. To the north of the pavilions, lies an island by the name of "Moon Color and River Sound". The buildings on the island include Jingji Shanfang, Yingxin Tang, Lengxiang Ting etc. The plains lie to the north of the lake area. The Garden of Ten Thousand Trees is located in its northeast. Shimadai (Ground for Practising Horse-Ride) in the southwest is a vast stretch of flat land covered with green grass, where one can go for a gallop. Stupa at the Yongyou Temple (Temple of Eternal Blessing), the largest building in the plain area, was built in the style of the Pagoda at Bao’en Temple (Temple of Paying Debt of Gratitude) in Nanjing City, and the Liuhe Pagoda (Six-Harmony Pagoda) in Hangzhou City. The mountains account for 4/5 of the Resort in area, with a terrain sloping from the northwest to the southeast. Ranged from south to north, are 4 successive valleys: Zhenzi yu (Hazels Valley), Lishu yu (Pear Trees Valley), Songlin yu (Pine Trees Valley) and Songyun xia (Pine Clouds Valley). On the summit of the mountain rising from Zhenzi yu, perches a large pavilion with a rolling roof, and commanding a distant view of Qingchui Peak (Club-shaped Peak) sparkling with golden and violet rays under the setting-sun light.
How to get Imperial Summer Villa: Take bus No. 7 from the Chengde Railway Station.
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