The Summer Palaceis located at Haidian district, Beijing. The Palace is the largest royal garden and the most perfectly preserved one in China. Originally it was the garden of the Qing Dynasty, named Garden of Clear Ripples.
The palace occupies about 2,900,000 square meters, with the lake taking up about one third of the whole garden. The main attractions in the palace include East Palace Gate, Hall of Benevolence and Longevity, Hall of Dispelling Clouds, Tower of Buddhist Incense, Sea of wisdom, Garden of Harmonious Interests, Suzhou Market Street, Back Lake, Seventeen-arch Bridge, Bronze Ox, Marble Boat, South Lake Isle, Long Gallery,Hall of Jade Billows, Garden of Virtue and Harmony, Hall of Joyful Longevity, and so on. The Tower of Buddhist Incense on the Longevity Hill is the center of the palace, with the others being delicate halls, house and pavilions arranged in harmony with the natural landscape. The Summer Palace is a rare masterpiece of garden arts for its ingeniously conceived structure.
Hall of Benevolence and Longevity, formerly called Hall of Industrious Government, was the place where the emperors of the Qing Dynasty attended and handled state affairs. Empress Dowager Ci Xi and Emperor of Guangxu had met the ministers and received foreign envoys there for several times. Lots of valuable cultural relics are exhibited inside the hall. Hall of Dispelling Clouds is the grandest complex of palaces in front of the Longevity Hill, where Empress Dowager Ci Xi once received the courtesy congratulations for her birthday. Hall of Joyful Longevity was the residence of the empress in the area. The Seventeen-arch Bridge, about 150 meters long and 8 meters wide, is the largest one in Summer Palace. With a graceful structure, the bridge links the South Lake Isle in the west and the Pavilion of Broad View in the east. The Seventeen-arch Bridge is not only the sole pass to the South Lake Isle but also a significant scene at the lake area.