New Summer Palace (Beijing)

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New Summer Palace in Beijing
UNESCO world heritage UNESCO World Heritage Emblem

Scenery of Longevity Hill.JPG
Beijing Summer Palace
Contracting State (s): China
Type: Culture
Criteria : (i) (ii) (iii)
Surface: 297 ha
Buffer zone: 5595 ha
Reference No .: 880
UNESCO region : Asia and Pacific
History of enrollment
Enrollment: 1998  (session 22)

The New Summer Palace ( Chinese 頤和園 / 颐和园, Pinyin Yíhéyuán , literally: Recreation and Peace Garden ) is an imperial palace . It is located in northwest Beijing a few hundred meters west of the ruins of the Old Summer Palace . It is one of the highlights of Chinese garden art , although it was destroyed several times and had to be rebuilt. Today it is one of the big visitor magnets in the Chinese capital and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998 .


Tower of the God of Literature, October 1860, before being destroyed by enemy troops. Recording of Beato
View of the Buddhist Fragrance Pavilion

Emperor Qianlong had it built in 1751–1764 for a total of 4.8 million silver tael as a present for his mother's 60th birthday. The 297-hectare facility was built on the site of the former garden of the Golden Waters, which had existed since 1153 and was the preferred place of residence of the imperial court during the hot and humid summer months. The buildings are among the masterpieces of Chinese architecture , and the park is one of the most impressive Chinese landscape gardens . Like the Old Summer Palace further east, the New Summer Palace fell victim to retaliation in the wake of the Second Opium War and was destroyed by an Anglo-French invasion army on October 17 and 18, 1860. The photographer Felice Beato , who accompanied the Anglo-French invasion army, documented the palace complexes photographically between October 6th and 16th, so that an idea of ​​the former complex has been preserved.

Unlike the Old Summer Palace, however, the New Summer Palace was rebuilt between 1885 and 1895 on the initiative of the Dowager Empress Cixi and the head of the Imperial Navy, Prince Yi Xuan . The financing was done by diverting funds actually intended for the expansion of the fleet, which is still reminiscent of the famous marble boat in the palace lake. In the course of the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, the New Summer Palace was once again destroyed by the British in retaliation and then rebuilt. After its closure in 1908 by the widow of Emperor Guangxu , it was reopened in 1924. However, only a few could afford a visit because of the exorbitantly high entrance fees at the beginning. Today the Summer Palace is a magnet for visitors and is one of the most frequented sights in the Chinese capital.


As in most Chinese gardens and parks, buildings have a high priority here too. Along the shores of Kunming Lake and the range of hills extending north of it, u. a. the following buildings:

  • The east gate,
  • The Hall of Benevolence and Longevity, where Emperor Guangxu received foreign diplomats, but was under constant surveillance by the Empress Dowager Cixi , who was actually the most powerful person in the state, who was hidden behind a screen .
  • The Hall of Jade Waves
  • The Hall of Aroma, where Guangxu's wife Longyu lived,
  • The garden of virtue and harmony with the 21 meter high theater building and the hall of exhilaration,
  • The hall of joy and longevity,
  • The hall where you listen to the orioles, formerly an opera theater,
  • The cloud-dispersing hall
  • The 728 m long walkway,
  • The Buddhist Fragrance Pavilion ,
  • The Precious Clouds Pavilion, which looks like a wooden structure, but is made entirely of bronze and weighs 200 tons,
  • The Pavilion of the Four Great Continents,
  • The Marble Ship , a viewpoint built on the water for viewing Kunming Lake,
  • The More Treasures Pagoda ,
  • The Seventeen-Arch Bridge ,
  • The jade ribbon bridge,
  • The garden of harmony and pleasure , a so-called garden in the garden , which, in contrast to the other parts of the park, is designed in the South Chinese style.
  • A replica of a canal with shops from Suzhou

The Hall of Jade Waves

The Hall of Jade Waves ( Pinyin Yulan Tang ) housed the living quarters of the Guangxu Emperor , where he was imprisoned after his imprisonment by Cixi as part of the Hundred Day Reform in 1898. Guangxu did his daily work in the central room of the hall. This 'office' was furnished, among other things, with a throne and a desk made of red sandalwood. There were numerous panes of glass decorated with landscape paintings and fans made of emerald green feathers - symbols of royal power. To the northwest of it was the emperor's bedchamber.

The hall of joy and longevity

The Hall of Joy and Longevity ( Pinyin Leshou Tang ) was built in 1750 under Emperor Qianlong . Originally it had two floors, but the building was burned down by Anglo-French troops in 1860 during Emperor Xianfeng's reign. In 1886 the hall was built in its current form with one floor and served as a private room for the Empress Dowager Cixis .

The walkway

Walkway in the summer palace

The 728 m long walkway was built along the shores of Kunming Lake. It consists of 273 connected pairs of columns and several pavilions, a unique combination of a covered path and an art gallery, the architraves of which are decorated with more than 8000 pictures. The motifs show historical and mythological scenes or landscape, bird and flower motifs. The corridor begins in the east with the Gate of the Invitation of the Moon ( Pinyin Yaoyue ) and ends in the west in the Old Man's Pavilion (Pinyin Shizhang ) and connects all the buildings along the Mountain of Longevity through gates and pavilions. The cloud-scattering hall forms the center of the corridor, which at this point makes a semicircular arch around the hall.

Web links

Commons : New Summer Palace (Beijing)  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files
  • Entry on the UNESCO World Heritage Center website ( English and French ).

Individual evidence

  1. UNESCO World Heritage Center: Summer Palace, an Imperial Garden in Beijing. Retrieved August 6, 2017 .

Coordinates: 39 ° 59 ′ 54 ″  N , 116 ° 16 ′ 8 ″  E