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Published: February 5th 2018
While I was in Beijing, at the end of the summer, the downtown was still very hot, heavily polluted and an escape, away from the chaotic city, was definitely needed.
Around Peking there are so many interesting and lovely sites. I headed to the great Summer Palace, that is easily reached by tube from the city center. I left from "Xidan" underground station to "Beigongmen" station and in about one hour I was already to my destination.
As I expected, I was welcome by numerous street vendors selling any kind of thing your heart may desire.
The Haidian District is about 15km from downtown Beijing, but it was enough to regenerate myself by the stifling hot and tough contaminated air I inhaled. It was very pristine, the lash vegetation and flowers, surrounding the place and the beautiful lake that took up most of the entire area.
The Yihe Yuan was created in 1750, as an Emperor’s garden retreat in the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911).
What caught my eye of this marvellous garden was the Longevity Hill with its Tower of Buddhist Incense. It is a great tower that has three stories and eight sides. It
is built on the slope of Longevity Hill and faces Kunming Lake, with stunning vistas allover the park.
I love this garden particularly for the great combination of imperial garden features, immersed in the surrounding natural landscape.
Even though the park is visited by hundreds of tourists each day, due to its size, it looks as to have it for yourself. Especially when, after a long walk around the garden, I just took myself a rest and sat down on the marble ground, admiring one of the so many and beautiful courtyards that this park displays.
Under the shadow of the tree, I enjoyed the gentle breeze drying away my sweat and observing the marvellous architecture of the "Wenchang" courtyard with its red pillars, pointed roof, the so many colourful motifs decorating the lower part of the roof, emerald coloured vase on top of a brilliant marble support, finely carved, and the labyrinthine corridors, with little benches along the way, leading to other same and awesome courtyards. Wherever I step in any part of this place I always have that feeling of living again the heyday of the imperial past.
The rulers of the past could
not choose a better place to relax and spend the summer months in this gorgeous emperial garden.
I found magnificent also the arched bridges around the park and the most magnificent of all was the Seventeen Arch Bridge, a series of arched structures in the vastness of Kunming lake.
Everything, here, is kept to really make you experience what was the daily life of the imperial dynasty as I walked within the glorious Suzhou Street market which has lovely stores in the style of the busy commercial streets centuries ago.
The summer palace made me really appreciate the profound and ancient culture of this great country that still, in spite of the revolutions and conflicts of the past, keeps its long traditions.
The Summer Palace, along with the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and Gong Yuan Garden is a must-see imperial attraction of Beijing.
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