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Description: Situated in western outskirts of Beijing, the Summer Palace is 10 kilometers from the central city. It is China's leading classical garden which enjoys a worldwide reputation. The Summer Palace was opened to the public in 1924 and included in the UNESCO world heritage list in 1998. A whole day is needed to view it in detail.
The Summer Palace was first built in 1153 and served as an imperial palace for short stays away from the capital. Empress Dowager Ci Xi rebuilt it in 1888 with a large sum of money which had been appropriated to build a Chinese navy.
The two main elements of the garden are Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake. Kunming Lake, with an exquisite building in the middle, takes up three quarters of the garden's 290 hectares. The garden consists of three parts: the political activity area, the empress's living quarter and the scenic area which separately centers on the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity(1), the Hall of Jade Ripples(2) and the Hall of Happiness and Longevity(3), and Longevity Hill(4) and Kunming Lake. The groups of buildings, hills and lakes, together with the background of West Hills, give an ever changing scene.
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