The Mountain Resort
In 1703, Qing Emperor Kangxi decided to build his summer resort in Chengde with its proximity to the capital of Beijing. The construction was finished in 1790, lasting 87 years. Within the resort, there are more than 20 building complex scattered throughout the park, consisting of more than 100 individual halls, pavilions, studios, pagodas and terraces. Each of these complexes has its poetic name. Every year both Qing emperors Kangxi and Qianlong spent six months enjoying the cool and handling government affairs here. After the dynasty was overthrown in 1911, the resort had been left in disrepair. In 1961, The Mountain Resort was listed as a major historical monument under the state protection and allocated a large sum of money to have it restored.
The Resort encompasses 5.64 square kilometers (twice the size of the Summer Palace in Beijing) and the wall enclosing it is as long as 10 kilometers. Imperial Summer Villa can be divided into 2 parts: the palace area and the garden area.
In the southern part of the garden area are the palace buildings where the Qing emperors lived, conducted state affairs and held grand celebrations. The buildings in the palace area are unique in style, quite unlike those gorgeous ones in Beijing. Their foundations just like ordinary people's houses, which are simply furnished, unembellished, austere and elegant, harmonizing well with the simplicity of the whole resort.
The lake is the important scenic spot of the resort. Of the 72 Scenic Wonders named by Qing Emperor Kangxi and Qianlong, 31 are in the lake area.With winding banks, the lake area has a maze of islets linked by causeways and small bridges. The entire place presents a typical South China scene when a breeze rustles the willow trees along the shore and the lotus, reeds and water chestnuts sway over the shoals of fish swimming leisurely in the water.
To the north of the lake lies a vast plain covered with luxuriant grass and trees, where reindeer and hares often roam about. The park is laid out entirely in the Mongolian style, whisking tourists to typical Mongolian grassland.
The northwestern part of the resort is all wooded mountains, steep crags and deep valleys, where the scenery varies from season to season. Here, 44 scenic spots were built during the reigns of emperor Kangxi and Qianlong. Waling along the zigzag mountain paths to the accompaniment of the soughing of the wind in the pines, the chirping of birds and the murmuring of the streams, people will be transported into a haven of peace, far removed from the din and turmoil of the world.
In 1994, the Mountain Resort and its surrounding temples were designated as a world Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.
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