Imperial China, The Yangtze River & Tibet
May, 2007, an OAT Tour

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
Harmony was built by Empress Cixi with funds meant for
the modernization of the Imperial Navy. The boat's
superstructure is made of wood painted to look like marble.

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.

Front arch      Home of the Dragon Throne

      Local concession stand outside teh Palace grounds

Buying a local snack      Portable concession stand

Buy your enterance tickets here      This group is identified by their red vest - not the red skirt

This group wears yellow vests      Crowds funneled through the entry

Very orderly crowds      Is this a male or female lion

Part dragon, lion, stag, goat      Hall of Benevolence and Longevity, Throne of Cixi

      Spring Heralding Pavilion



      Longevity Hill and Temple of the Sea of Wisdom

The Tower of Fragrance of the Buddha      Room in Hall of Happiness and Longevity

      Hall of Jade Ripples

      Every group has a distinctive color. This group wears blue 
hats with yellow bills

Sign of the Dragon Throne      Hall of Happiness and Longevity

Blue Iris Stone: Largest stone in any Chinese garden. Revered
because it looked like a mushroom     

      Tongzhi held prisoner here by Empress Cixi




Young couple happy to have their picture taken      17 arch bridge

A marble lion crowns each of the 544 balusters along the 
bridge's length     

The Long Corridor
Changiang, The Long Corridor, is a covered wooden structure with every beam, post and railing decorated with scenic paintings. The corridor is 2,388 feet long and decorated with over 14,000 scenes. It was described as having "more paintings than the Louve."

The Long Hall      Painted beams on the Long Hall

1      A stream runs adjacent to the Long Hall

Scenes of Chinese Life painted on the beams      2

3      Colorful paintings of Chinese life

Looking up at one of the domes      4

5      How does one choose which photo to show when there are so many?

6      7

8      Hall for the Listening to Orioles

The Marble Boat      The skyline of Beijing with its space tower - every city has one

Marble boat      Rent a boat for a ride across the lake

Marble boat      9

Boats for rent      Arch on the bridge

Marble bridge      Marble bridge

Lawn crew on break      Party decorators

See the international sign for Do Not Walk On The Grass?      Have your picture taken

Yellow billed visors come this way      Red Hats over here

Ice cream cones are a favorite everywhere in the world      Can you read Chinese?

Peaceful lake sums it all up

Index to all China 2007 Advantures:

The following pages are still under construction
so be patient and come back to watch its growth.

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This page was created by Bob "Belli" Frazee

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Belli at the Grand Titons, June 2015

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