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Touring Imperial Summer Mountain Resort (Bishushanzhuang) in Chengde, Northeast Hebei – China

Filed Under (Chengde, China, Hebei, Shopping, Tianjin, Travelling, World Souvenirs) by Janet on 02-06-2008


The Day was Dear & my first & only day in Chengde as we checked out of our Room at Qianyang Hotel. We had intended to skip breakfast so that we could sleep a little longer, but cos we realised that we would be setting off to our Chengde tour later than prearranged the night before, we decided to check out on the Hotel breakfast!

Well, the Hotel Restaurant was a pretty big one with nice elegant red velvet chairs, lightings & deco. But my goodness the Chinese Buffet breakfast spread was a mess all over the place!! According to our 2 tourmates Auntie & Uncle, the mess was all caused by the local crowds of Chinese tourists when they snatched & grabed the food!! Haha, it was no surprise for me cos I’d personally seen such scenes when I was travelling on the Silk Road, China!!

Anyway, Dear was delighted to find his favourite “You Tiao” at the buffet spread, & he managed to grab the last only piece haha!! As for me, the messy sights of the food just put me off & I prefered not to eat at all!

After breakfast, we left in our Chinese driver Sifu’s van to go on our Chengde tours.

I’ve put all the photos I took from inside our Hotel room to the Hotel Restaurant, to the time when we were leaving Qianyang Hotel for our Chengde tours, in the following Slideshow :

 We’re now on our way to the famous Imperial Summer Mountain Resort – Chengde Summer Villa (or “Bishushanzhuang” in Chinese – literally meaning “Avoiding the Heat Mountain Villa”).

The below Slideshow contains photos of the short drive from Qianyang Hotel to our arrival at the Chengde Mountain Resort :

Dear & I standing outside the Main Entrance (Gate of Beauty & Righteousness or “LiZhengMen” in Chinese) of Imperial Summer Mountain Resort – Imperial Summer Villa (“Bishushanzhuang”) :

In 1703, Chengde was chosen by Emperor Kangxi (of Qing Dynasty) as the location for his Summer Residence. Built between 1703 & 1792, the Mountain Resort took 89 years to complete, covering a total area of 590 hectares (& surrounded by a 10km Long Wall), almost half of Chengde’s urban area – as big as the Forbidden City & Summer Palace (of Beijing) combined.

In 1708, the Mountain Resort became the 2nd Political Centre of the Qing Dynasty.

Above the Gateway is a Tablet with carvings of ”LiZhengMen” in 5 National Languages; from right to left - Mongolian, Uygur, Chinese, Tibetan & Manchu, with the 3 Chinese characters in the Centre (calligraphed by Emperor Qianlong), symbolizing that China is a Multinational Counry :

In 1994, the Mountain Resort was added to the World Heritage List by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organisation). This has made Chengde one of the Famous Cities in the World! 

Our Entrance Tickets to the Mountain Resort (“Bishushanzhuang”) :

We’re now entering the Mountain Resort via the Gate of Beauty & Righteousness, guarded by Chinese Guards :

The Chinese Guards are wearing traditional Soldier hat & Uniforms with the Chinese character “Ping” printed on the front & back of their Uniforms :

Dear & I inside the Mountain Resort - behind us are a huge group of Chinese actors getting ready for their morning routine performance of the ancient Imperial Family’s arrival at the Summer Villa.

Our Chengde tour guide stopped to show & introduce to us the Map of the Mountain Resort & its history :

The Mountain Resort is a vast complex of Palaces & Administrative & Ceremonial Buildings. Temples of various architectural styles & Imperial Gardens (which makes up the Palace District) blend harmoniously into a Landscape of Lakes (Lake District), Pastureland (Plains District) & Forests (Mountainous District). The Lake District is home to a collection of Fishing Villages & the popular Rehe Springs. The Plains Distrcit is a model of Mongolian Grasslands & the Mountainous District fearures hundreds of yards of dence Green Forests!

Emperors Kangxi, Qianlong & Jiaqing often spent months a year here at the Mountain Resort to escape the unbearable Summer heat of the Capital of Beijing! Thus, the Palace zone in the Southern part of the Resort was designed to resemble the Forbidden City in Beijing. It consists of 2 parts – a Court infront where the Emperor received high Officials, Nobles of various minority Nationalities & Foreign Envoys, & the 2nd part which are the Bed Chambers in the rear, for the Imperial Family’s living quarters.

True to its name, the Mountain Resort is known to be at least 3 degrees celsius Cooler than the Chengde City itself. The Mountain Resort is most famous for the 72 Scenic Spots (many copied from the famous landscaped Gardens of Southern China), which were named the Emperors Kangxi & Qianlong.

Outside the enclosure of the Mountain Resort in a semi-circle is the “Eight Outer Temples” (or “Wabia Miao” in Chinese) of various styles, reflecting artistic characteristic of the Han, Manchu, Mongolian & Tibetan Nationalities. These Temples are taken as Treasure houses of Buddhist Arts.

Built between 1713 & 1780, the Eight Outer Temples was built to consolidate the relationship between the Imperial Family & local Nobles, & to ensure the unification & development of all the Nationalities in the whole of China. As the Temples were built outside the Forbidden City in Beijing, & they were administered by 8 different departments in the Court, thus they were called the Eight Outer Temples.

We arrived at the Hall of Frugality & Placidity (or “Danbo Jingcheng” in Chinese) of the Mountain Resort. Made of Nanmu (a kind of high quality, fragrant hard durable wood), the Hall was the place where the Emperor held grand celebrations & met the Princes, Dukes, Officials & Foreign Diplomatic Envoys. 

As the Nanmu wood was of Imperial quality, parts of them were stolen off the wooden pillars of the Hall, leaving holes here & there on the pillars. However, these holes had since been replaced by woods, as can be seen from the following cracked parts of the pillar :

And there were many money donations from visitors from all over the world who slotted dollar notes into the glass panel of the wooden doors of the Hall – we even saw our own local Singapore dollar – a 100 dollar & 2 dollar notes!!

The following Slideshow contains all the photos taken at the scene of the Hall of Frugality & Placidity :

We next came to the Sizhi Book House (or “Si Zhi Su Wu” in Chinese meaning “Four Knowledge Study”) where the Emperor took his rests or called in Officials & conducted State Affairs :

Below is the Slideshow of photos at the SiZhi Book House :

We then saw some exhibitions & just before we arrived at the Hall of Refreshing Mists & Waves (or in Chinese “Yanbo Zhishuang” Hall) which was the Bedchamber used by where Emperor Jiaqing & Emperor Xianfeng of the Qing Dynasty, died on their sickbeds, we stopped at the small Souvenirs Store :

And the below beautiful bangles of Tibetan stones & design were bought at the Souvenirs Store  – my very first Chengde Souvenirs :

And I also got the following Golden plated Key Rings of Emperor Kangxi & Emperor Qianlong :

Now, the below Slideshow contains photos from taken from the Exhibitions to the Souvenirs Store, to the Hall of Refreshing Mists & Waves :

We also visited the “Xinuange” (West Chamber of Warmth) where Emperor Xianfeng was forced to sign the Beijing Treaty (in 1860) with Britain, France & Russia, which ceded South Kowloon to Britain, & to admit Aihua Treaty through which more than 1000000 square km of Territory lying in the North of Heilongjiang River & East of Wushulijjiang River was ceded to Russia. This was the Chinese National Humiliation in the History of China.

The following Slideshow contains photos of the Chamber where the Beijing Treaty was signed :

From the Chamber where the Beijing Treaty was signed, we walked to the below Hall of Yunshanshengdi (with its Chinese characters written on the Board above the Hall) :

On the first storey of the Hall of Yunshanshengdi used to be a Stage for performing Beijing Opera, & the Emperor & his Imperial Family would watch the performance from the Rockery Garden infront of the Hall.

And inside this Hall we visited another Souvenirs Shop where I bought the below Tibetan Necklace to match the Bangle which I bought earlier :

I’ve put the photos taken from the Rocky garden Courtyard infront of the above Hall of Yunshanshengdi in the following Slideshow :

We soon left the Hall of Yunshanshengdi to enter the Lake & Plains – Pastureland Districts (6 times larger than the Palace District) of the Mountain Resort.

The following Slideshow contains photos taken at the Lake & Plains District :

Dear & I standing beside the huge Stone inscribed with the Chinese characters “Bishushanzhuang” meaning Imperial Summer Villa, & “Si Jie Weng Hua Yi Chang” meaning World Heritage Site, with the UNESCO Logo.

Below is the Guide Map for the Bus Route round the Mountains of the Mountain Resort,

which we would be exploring later :

The Sketch Map (Lake & Plains – Pastureland Areas) of the Mountain resort :

Hey see who’s just come to welcome us from the Summer villa?!

It’s a Beautiful Deer!!

Dear posing beside the huge graceful Deer!

The following Slideshow contains photos taken from our Buggy Ride :

Our Buggy Ride Ticket :  

We arrived at the Tower of Mists & Rain (or “Yan Yu Lou” in Chinese) on the Qinlian Islet (or Green Lotus Island), a 2-storey Building standing against the River, which is a copy of the Nanhu Lake at Jiaxing City, zhejiang Province.

The faraway mountains & nearby water, & the Lake reflecting the Tower of Mists & Rains are rich in poetic & artistic conceptions of Gardens & Southern China. When it’s raining in the Mountains, there’ll be lots of mists rising up like gauze, & the water & sky merge in one, which makes us feel like flying in the Paradise like a celestial being.

Dear & I beside the Stone inscribed with the Chinese characters “Yan Yu Lou” :

From the Tower of Mists & Rain, we could see the Sledge-Hammer Peak standing on a Hill 5 km

East of the Mountain Resort. The Peak, formed through a long time of geological process,

looks like a inverted Sledgehammer, thus the name. For the local Chinese in Chengde,

this unique Rock formation is also referred to as the “Da Mu Zi” meaning ”Big Thumb”,

cos of its similar shape to our Big Thumb!

 

Below are some photos of Dear & I posing at the quiet tranquil Lake & the serene rocky Garden

of the Tower of Mists & Rain :

 

     

   

   

The following Slideshow contains all the photos taken on the Green Lotus Island (Qinlian Islet) of the Towet of Mists & Rain or “Yan Yu Lou” :

 

We next hopped on the Buggy to our next destination – the Mongolian Yurt Resort of the Summer Villa located in the grand grassland of the “Ten Thousand Tree Garden”. It was here that Emperor Qianlong received the Mongolian Princes, Tibetan Panchen Lama & British Special Envoy.

To the West of this vast grassland was where the Emperor selected horses for hunting. And to the East was where Fruits Trees & Vegetables were grown for the Imperial Kitchen.

Dear & I standing at the Mongolian Yurt Resort entrance :

The Mongolian Yurt Resort Flat Map (or “Mongo Bao Du Jia Chun Ping Mein Du” in Chinese) :

Behind us are the Milky White Mongolian Yurts – Dear & I felt like we were on Mongolian Grassland – so Happy!

Dear & I with a Mongolian Yurt :

The following Slideshow contains photos taken at the Mongolian Yurt Resort : 

Dear & I seated by the Rehe River, located on the East of Pingxiangting – one of the most important sceneries in the Mountain Resort, & the main source of water for the Lakes. Rehe River is the Shortest River in the World, recorded in the British Publication Encyclopedia Britannic.

The water in the Rehe River doesn’t freeze in Winters, & it contains minerals such as Calcium, Magnesium & Iron, & is suitable for making Soft Drinks!! How COOL!!

Me wearing the Jade Beaded Pearl Necklace bought in Happy Valley, Beijing :

Dear & I learning against the Stone inscribed with Chinese characters “Re He” meaning “Hot River” : 

The below Slideshow contains photos taken at the Rehe River : 

We soon left the Rehe River & took the Buggy Ride to the Exit of the Mountain Resort, where we saw the 9-storey 6-sided Pagoda at the Temple of Eternal Blessings (or “Yongyousi” in Chinese – biggest Temple of all the 16 Temples of the Mountain Resort), located North of the Ten Thousand Tree Garden. This Pagoda was built in the style of the Liuli Pagoda at Baoen Temple (Temple of the Paying Debt of Gratitude) in Nanjing City, & the Liuhe Pagoda (Six-Harmonies) in Hangzhou City. It was at this Temple that Emperor Qianlong & Jiaqing came to pray for Longevity for their lives.

Just before the exit of the Mountain Resort, there was a Souvenirs Shop where we shopped for a while before leaving the Mountain Resort :

We soon left the Mountain resort (or Chengde Summer Villa) with cooling, happy relaxed hearts!

Below is a Portrait of Dear & I taken outside the Main Entrance (Gate of Beauty & Righteousness or “LizhengMen” in Chinese) of ”Bishushanzhuang”, that comes with a beautiful Book of Bishushanzhuang, & a VCD that tells the history of Bishushanzhuang, & showcases beautiful sceneries of the Mountain Resort & the Putuo Zongcheng Temple which we would be visiting later.

Book of Bishushanzhuang :

 

 The following Slideshow contains photos of the Book of Bishushanzhuang :

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