The Summer Palace is such a majestic and immense complex of pavilions, gardens, and views that I had to split it into 3 parts to be able to properly show its beauty. This is the first part of the series.
It takes about an hour to reach the complex from the city center as the area is located at the outskirts of the city.
The eastern and main entrance of the Summer Palace (頤和園 – Yíhéyuán, literally “to maintain energy and mellow the soul”), with two bronze lions stand guarding the gate, is very formal and imposing, although its features might be easily missed due to the large number of people wanting to enter the palace.
After having purchased the ticket and entered the premises, only a short walk is needed to reach the very first breathtaking view: Kunming Lake and the Longevity Hill in the background.
Even in late autumn the nature surrounding the lake is impressive, and it creates a sense of stillness and calm.
A lot of locations throughout the complex are built for contemplation and enjoyment of the views, as it is common in Eastern Asian landscape designs.
From the Front Hill and all around the lake, a set of pavilions, long halls and resting places are intertwined together with the nature. It was very hard for me not to have flashbacks from video games or old movies while wandering through these locations.
Note: Beijing, as it is frequently reported, has a massive problem with pollution (made worse by the geographical position of the capital), while normally the pollution is not visible, this day the air had a thick layer of smog. So, don’t be fooled, the sky, in normal conditions, would have been clear and bright blue.
The next post will focus on Longevity Hill, the hill towering at the center of the Summer Palace.