The Summer Palace

On August 22, 2012, in Beijing, Summer Palace, by Jack Li

When we are talking about what are the main attractions for a Beijing Tour one of the Top 3 is, without a doubt, the Summer Palace. This palace is one of the most visited places of the city and it’s an obligatory stop in your Beijing Tour.

The Summer Palace is 3 kilometers square and more than three quarters of it are formed by a lake called the Kunming Lake.

A very important part of its land area is formed by a 60 meters tall hill called the Longevity Hill and there are a lot of buildings that are positioned in sequence.

The main number of buildings are in the side of the hill that is not in front of the lake. The part that is directly next to the lake was left without buildings for having a more “natural” environment.

The sequence of buildings in the other side of the hill is as follows; The Cloud-Dispelling Hall, the Temple of Buddhist Virtue, and the Sea of Wisdom Temple, these are the main buildings, but there are some more that surround them. In the top of the Temple of Buddhist Virtue temple there is a tower that is 41 meters high and it’s supported by 8 iron pillars.


The Kunming Lake is an artificial lake created in 1291, it has three large islands and it represents the traditional Chinese garden element of “the fairy hill within the sea”.

The three islands are named after three fairytale islands, Yingzhou, Penglai and Fangzhang where it’s believed that the eight immortals lived.

The majority of the other features in the lake are inspired by buildings who are in such distant places as the Yangtze river, for example the West Dike is a recreation of the Su Di Dike in Hangzhou, and like it’s original it is crossed by six bridges, each one in a different style.

The largest bridge in the lake is the 17 arch bridge. It connects the eastern shore with the Nanhu Island (the representation of Penglai) this island is supposed to be the place where the eight immortals had their meetings, in the Summer palace there is a temple dedicated to the King Dragon and you can go to the top of the artificial hill that is on the island and see a very clear view of the place.

The Summer Palace is one of the most beautiful places in Beijing and one of its main attractions so make sure you won’t miss it in your Beijing Tour or you will surely regret it!

Jack Li
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