The Summer Palace | Beijing
The Summer Palace is a vast ensemble of lakes, gardens and palaces in Beijing, China. It served as a summer resort and later a more permanent residence for Empress Dowager Cixi. As a sidenote I recommend the book «Empress Dowager Cixi, The Concubine Who Launched Modern China.» by Jung Chang that share some new/different light on both the controversy around the rebuild of the Summer Palace and maybe more importantly about her role and influence at the last part of the Qing Dynasty which was the end of the Imperial Periode in China.
The Summer Palace is mainly dominated by Longevity Hill and the Kunming Lake. It covers an expanse of 2.9 square kilometers, three-quarters of which is water.
Longevity Hill is about 60 m high and has several buildings positioned in sequence. The front hill is rich with halls and pavilions, while the back hill, in sharp contrast, is quiet with natural beauty.
The central Kunming Lake covering 2.2 square kilometers was entirely man-made and the excavated soil was used to build Longevity Hill.