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Belvedere of Pleasant Sounds, Hall for Viewing Opera & Qianlong Garden

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Belvedere of Pleasant Sounds (Changyinge)
Changyinge, Belvedere of Pleasant Sounds, is a three-storey building for performing dramas in the palace during the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911) . Its construction began in 1772, and was finished in 1776. Repairs were done in 1802 and 1891. Belvedere of Pleasant Sounds is the largest dramatic stage in the Forbidden City, with a height of 20.71 meters (68 feet).

In ancient China, watching dramas was the main entertainment in the palace. The royal family would watch the shows on every festival, such as Spring Festival, Beginning of Spring, Lantern Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Qixi Festival, Mid-autumn Festival, the Double Ninth Festival, Winter Solstice, New Year's Eve, and during some important ceremonies such as a new emperor’s enthronement or birthday of the emperor or empress. The grand Belvedere of Pleasant Sounds was especially for important celebrations, and most operas performed here were happy shows. According to historical records, when Empress Dowager Cixi was in power in the late Qing Dynasty, she would enjoy shows at Belvedere of Pleasant Sounds on every festival, accompanied by the emperor, empress and government officials.

The three floors of Belvedere of Pleasant Sounds were connected by a lift. Usually, shows were performed on the bottom floor, and the other two above were used for hoisting up and down performers and props. For example, if the performance was about a fairy or immortal, the performers and sets would be sent down from the above floors by a rigging, creating an effect that they came from the heavens.

Hall for Viewing Opera (Yueshilou) 
In the north of Belvedere of Pleasant Sounds, the Hall for Viewing Opera is located. The Hall for Viewing Opera was built in 1772 with two floors. It was the place for the emperorsand their families to watch the shows performed in the Belvedere of Pleasant Sounds. The eastern and western wings connected with Belvedere of Pleasant Sounds and the corridors were for the princes and dukes. Presently, the first floor of the Hall for Viewing Opera is used as a drama house where costumes and props used in the performances in the palaces of the Qing Dynasty are exhibited. It is an educational place for visitors to go and learn about the dramas in the Qing Dynasty.

In general, Belvedere of Pleasant Sounds and the Hall for Viewing Opera can be regarded as the recreational areas in the Palace of Tranquil Longevity (Ningshougong). In the past, there were a few ways of entertainment, so watching dramas was very enjoyable. Enjoying garden scenery was also another way to relax. There is a garden in the Palace of Tranquil Longevity called Qianlong Garden.

Qianlong Garden 
Qianlong Garden should be called "Ningshougong Garden" since it was built during the period of Emperor Qianlong’s reign.. Qianlong Garden, located in the west of Palace of Tranquil Longevity, was constructed by Emperor Qianlong for his life after the abdication. The garden is divided into 5 sections with many famous buildings, including Guhuaxuan, Xuhui Pavilion, Suichu Hall, Cuishang Tower, and Juanqin Study. They were spread with winding hills and curving galleries in between. The buildings, flowers, trees, hills and stones are well integrated and created an exquisite refinement, making it a well-known garden in the Forbidden City. 

Qianlong Garden covers a small area and was built completely based on Qianlong’s ideas. Qianlong had a particular feeling for the scenery in the regions south of the Yangtze River, so everything in the garden was meticulously designed to reproduce the classic style of the gardens there. It will be a shame if you don't visit Qianlong Garden during your tour to the Forbidden City.

 Go to the Next Attractions: Hall of Spiritual Cultivation, Hall of Joyful Longevity & Bower of Well-nourished Harmony 

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