Introduction to Chengde Summer Resort (避暑山庄)
Built between 1703 and 1792 in the Qing Dynasty, the Mountain Resort of Chengde took 89 years to complete, covering a total area of 5.6 million square meters, almost half of Chengde's urban area. It is a vast complex of palaces and administrative and ceremonial buildings. Temples of various architectural styles and imperial gardens blend harmoniously into a landscape of lakes, pastureland and forests. In December 1994 the Mountain Resort was listed by UNESCO on its list of World Heritage Sites.
The Kangxi, Qianlong and Jiaqing Emperors often spent several months every year here to escape the summer heat in the capital city of Beijing and the palace zone in the southern part of the resort was therefore designed to resemble the Forbidden City in Beijing.
The mountain resort consists of two parts: a court in the front, where the emperor received high officials, nobles of various minority nationalities, and foreign envoys; and bed chambers in the rear, which were the imperial family's living quarters. Emperor Jiaqing and Xianfeng both died while staying at Chengde in 1820 and 1861 respectively. There are two kinds of areas in the mountain resort of chengde, including the palace area and the pleasure areas. The palace area is consisted of four groups of buildings, including the main hall, the Songhe Hall, the Wanhe Songfeng Palace, and the East Palace.
The resort's plain area also possesses characteristics of the scenery of the Mongolian grasslands. Forested mountains and valleys are dotted with various buildings. This includes a 70 m tall stone Chinese pagoda, one of the tallest in China, built in the year 1751 during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor. The pagoda is shaped with an octagonal base, while the pagoda's nine stories are decorated with colorful glazed tiles and the steeple is crowned with a gilded round spire.
1. Within Chengde, you can take bus No. 5 (which can be boarded either at Chengde Railway Station or at the Commuter Bus Hub Station) to the Mountain Resort of Chengde.
2. From Beijing, you can take the Beijing - Chengde regional bus, which departs from the center of Beijing every 10 minutes. Alternatively, from Beijing you can take train N211 to Chengde, which runs about 4 hours.