Welcome to Chéngdé
This was the summer playground of the emperors of the Qing dynasty; beginning with Emperor Kangxi, the Qing Court would flee here to escape the torpid summer heat of the Forbidden City (and occasionally the threat of foreign armies), as well as to be closer to the hunting grounds of their northern homelands.
The Bìshǔ Shānzhuāng (Fleeing-the-Heat Mountain Villa) is a grand imperial palace and the walled enclosure it lies within houses China’s largest regal gardens. Beyond the grounds is a remarkable collection of politically chosen temples, built to host dignitaries such as the sixth Panchen Lama. The Imperial Villa, the gardens and the eight temples are all, quite rightly, Unesco-protected.