Imperial Beijing - The Summer Palace
The Summer Palace was an imperial retreat for the Qing Dynasty during the stifling summer confines of the Forbidden city. In earlier dynasties it existed as an imperial park but it was during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1736 - 1795) that it assumed its current layout. Empress Dowager Cixi had the palace rebuilt twice: following its destruction by the French and English in 1860 and again in 1902 after it was plundered during the Boxer Rebellion. Today some of its buildings are used by the Communist government officials as summer retreats and thus off limits to the public. As a whole, however, the government has opened a lot of the Imperial grounds to the people as parks (Forbidden City, etc.) At least (not yet) the land was not sold off to private investors to build exclusive condominiums.
The marble boat in the lake of the Garden of Cultivated
Empress Dowager Cixi was one of China's most powerful women. Originally a concubine of the thrid rank, Cixi placed herself on the Dragon Throne after the death of the emperor and ruled in an unscrupulous and self-centered way for 50 years, initially in the name of her young child. By deploying young women and other distractions she kept him away from matters of governm,ent until his death at the age of 18. Then then installed her young nephew as emperor and governed from "behind the throne" until he was of age. She kept her son a virtual prisoner in the Summer Palace and prevented state reforms. Her alliance with the Boxer Rebellion paved the way for the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1911.
As I am sorting through the thousand, or so, pictures I have taken in China I noticed an unintended theme: Decorative roof lines. You may have noted them in the photographs of the Forbidden City. There are many more fascinating and colorful photos in this section. Ancient Chinese architecture is mostly constructed of wood and quite unique which deserves special attention.
Index to all China 2007 Advantures:
so be patient and come back to watch its growth.
This page was created by Bob "Belli" Frazee
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