Bìshǔ Shānzhuāng

sights / Historic

Bìshǔ Shānzhuāng information

Location
Chéngdé , China
Address
Lizhengmen Dajie
Prices
admission Apr-Oct ¥120, Nov-Mar ¥90
Opening hours
palace 7am-6pm Apr-Oct, 8am-5.30pm Nov-Oct
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The imperial summer resort is composed of a main palace complex and vast parklike gardens, all enclosed by a handsome 10km-long wall. The entrance price is steep (as it is with all the main sights here in Chéngdé), and it gets packed with tourists here in summer, but the splendid gardens provide ample opportunity to take a quiet walk away from the crowds.

A huge spirit wall shields the resort entrance at Lizhengmen Dajie. Through Lìzhèng Gate , the Main Palace is a series of nine courtyards and five elegant, unpainted halls, with a rusticity complemented by towering pine trees. The wings in each courtyard have various exhibitions (porcelain, clothing, weaponry), and most of the halls are decked out in period furnishings.

The first hall is the refreshingly cool Hall of Simplicity and Sincerity , built of an aromatic cedar called nánmù, and displaying a carved throne draped in yellow silk. Other prominent halls include the emperor’s study (Study of Four Knowledges) and living quarters (Hall of Refreshing Mists and Waves). On the left-hand side of the latter is the imperial bedroom. Two residential areas branch out from here: the empress dowager’s Pine Crane Palace (松鹤斋; Sōnghè Zhāi), to the east, and the smaller Western Apartments , where the concubines (including a young Cixi) resided.

Exiting the Main Palace brings you to the gardens and forested hunting grounds, with landscapes borrowed from famous southern scenic areas in Hángzhōu, Sūzhōu and Jiāxīng, as well as the Mongolian grasslands.

The double-storey Misty Rain Tower , on the northwestern side of the main lake, served as an imperial study. Further north is the Wénjīn Pavilion (文津阁; Wénjīn Gé), built in 1773. Don't miss the wonderfully elegant 250-year-old Yǒngyòusì Pagoda (永佑寺塔; Yǒngyòusì Tǎ), which soars above the fragments of its vanished temple in the northeast of the complex.

Most of the compound is taken up by lakes, hills, forests and plains. There are magnificent views of some of the outlying temples from the northern wall.

Just beyond the Main Palace is the start-point for bus tours of the gardens . Further on you'll find a place for boat-rental .

Almost all of the forested section is closed from November to May because of fire hazard in the dry months, but fear not: you can still turn your legs to jelly wandering around the rest of the park.

Tourists can exit by any of the gates, but can only buy tickets to enter at Lìzhèng Gate.