The "Suzhou Jie" should give the Empress and the court servants the illusion of going shopping in Suzhou. Suzhou is a beautiful city with many canals and famous for silk. Even today you can buy goods from Suzhou in those shops.
From the Hall of Pines, a long stair leads up to the top of Wanshou Mountain. You will pass by glazed bricks with ridge turrets and a stupa of the Lama temple. From the top you can see the nearby Western Mountains.
From the "Mountain of longevity" (Wanshou Shan) one can see southwards on the waters of "Kunming lake". To the east you can see the city of Beijing and to the west the "Xi Shan" Mountains.
At the "Hou Hu" lake, north of the "Marble Boat", there is a beautiful arch bridge called "Mirror Bridge", which forms a circle in the reflection.
You can take the ferry from the marble boat to the Southern Island (Nan Dao) and then cross the 17 arched bridge to get back on the circular route around Kunming Lake.
In front of the hall of benevolence and longevity there is a dragon as symbol of the emperor and a phoenix as symbol of the empress.
In the Garden of Virtue and Harmony (Dehe Yuan) there is a theater where performances are still taking place today. The theater is very opulent, the high wooden building with two floors is richly decorated and brightly painted.
The Xiequ Yuan "Garden of Conviviality" was built in 1754. The garden is a replica of a Wuxi garden that the emperor loved. Many pavilions stand around the lake. The buildings are all built in the same style and with their gray bricks typical of Beijing look very harmonious. The wooden elements are painted red, but not bright red but rather brownish red, which means that the green of the trees dominates. When the weeping willows sway gently in the wind, there is no better place in Beijing.
The summer palace
The Yi He Yuan Summer Palace (Garden of Recreation and Peace) in Beijing is one of the greatest attractions in China. It was built after the "Old Summer Palace" (Yuan Ming Yuan), was destroyed by French and British intervention troops in 1860. The "New Summer Palace" was also partially destroyed by the Europeans. From 1886 the widow of the emperor "Cixi" lived in the summer palace; she practically ruled the country because her son "Tongzhi" was a minor. The Summer Palace is one of the most beautiful Chinese landscape gardens and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998.