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Longevity Hill - Rear Hill Area

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Compared with the spectacular scenery of the front hill area, the rear hill and lake area is more graceful and natural. The buildings in this area appear somewhat shabby because of the limited funds when Empress Dowager Cixi repaired the Summer Palace, but actually feel full of history. The Four Great Regions (Sida Buzhou) building cluster in Tibetan architecture style was restored in recent years. The lake area is evokes the water towns south of Yangtze River, including the Suzhou Street and the Garden of Harmonious Pleasure (Xiequ Garden).

The major buildings in the Rear Hill Area of Longevity Hill are the Four Great Regions (Sida Buzhou), Hall of the Buddha Confirming His Doctrine (Xiangyan Zongyin Zhi Ge), Xumi Lingjing Site (Xumi Lingjing Yizhi), Pine Hall (Song Tang), Glazed Tile Pagoda of Many Treasures (Duobao Liuli Ta), Suzhou Street, Hall of Serenity (Danning Tang), Chamber of Clearness (Jiqing Xuan), Garden of Harmonious Pleasures (Xiequ Yuan) and North Palace Gate. 

Four Great Regions
Four Great Regions

 Four Great Regions (Sida Buzhou)
Four Great Regions is a group of Tibetan lama temple buildings. According to the Buddhist sutras, the Buddha lived in Xumi Mountain - a sacred mountain surrounded by the sea. In the surrounding sea were four great regions called the Jambudvipa, Uttarakara, Purvavidewa, and Aparagodahiya. This is said to be the basis of the scenic spot of the Four Great Regions in the Summer Palace.

 Hall of the Buddha Confirming His Doctrine (Xiangyan Zongyin Zhi Ge)
The Hall of the Buddha Confirming His Doctrine, also known as Rear Big Temple (Houdamiao), was originally a three-storey Tibetan Lamasery. It was destroyed in 1860 by the Anglo-French Allied Forces, and was reconstructed to a one-storey building during Emperor Guangxu's reign (1875 - 1908). In the hall are enshrined statues of the Buddha of Three Ages and the Eighteen Arhats. In its yard, there is a stone unicorn, a relic of the Old Summer Palace.

 Xumi Lingjing Site (Xumi Lingjing Yizhi)
The Xumi Lingjing Site, facing north, is a building group on platforms comprising northern Han-style buildings and southern Tibetan style buildings. The buildings ascend gradually from the north to the south, for approximately 500 meters (547 yards). This was originally a huge and splendid building complex, but was burnt down during the wars. What we see now can’t be comparable with the original scale, since they are just a small partial reconstruction by Emperor Guangxu to store the Buddha statues of the Temple of Paying Great Gratitude for Longevity (Dabao’en Yanshou Si).

 Pine Hall (Song Tang)
In the northernmost part of the Four Great Regions, there is a building named Pine Hall whose east, west and north sides are formed by a wooden memorial archway of three doorways and four pillars.  Pine Hall is a group of large courtyards which gradually ascend along with the terrain of the rear hill. On the top level is a flat and wide square, south of which is the red wall of the Four Great Regions. On the bottom level, it is a wonderful leisure place covered with tall pines and cypresses and scattered with stone tables and chairs.

 Glazed Tile Pagoda of Many Treasures (Duobao Liuli Ta)
Built in 1751, Glazed Tile Pagoda of Many Treasures is a masterpiece among the glazed pagodas built in the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911). It was built by Emperor Qianlong to celebrate his mother’s 60th birthday, and was given the name 'Pagoda of Many Treasures' after the construction. The body of the pagoda was made of yellow, green, blue, and purple colored glazed bricks. It is the most colorful and elegant of all the glazed pagodas existing in Beijing. 

Suzhou Street
Suzhou Street

 Suzhou Street
Also known as ‘Trade Street’, Suzhou Street is located on the banks of the Houxi River. It was built for Emperor Qianlong to please his concubines by imitating the markets of the water towns south of Yangtze River. There were over 200 stores distributed on both sides of the 300 meters (328 yards) long street, including tea houses, restaurants, money lenders, drug stores, pawn stores, and printing houses. However, the stores here were not real stores, since the shop assistants and tourists were all eunuchs and court ladies in disguise who performed trading activities when the emperor came.

 Hall of Serenity (Danning Tang)
The House of Serenity (Danning Ju) in the Garden of Eternal Spring (Changchunyuan) was awarded to Emperor Qianlong as his study when he was young by his grandfather Emperor Kangxi. After Qianlong succeeded in the throne, he ordered to be built a similar building at the rear hill area of the Longevity Hill to commemorate his grandfather’s teaching and love to him in 1754. This is the present Hall of Serenity.

 Chamber of Clearness (Jiqing Xuan)
Located in the northeast part of the Summer Palace, Chamber of Clearness is an independent park connected with the Garden of Harmonious Pleasure. It is a masterpiece of the small gardens built in the reign of Emperor Qianlong. It was built on a huge rock, over a mountain stream. A small hall named Qinqin Gorge was built at the source of the stream. The other pavilions and halls were all built upon the mountains and were linked by hillside corridors. All the buildings in this scenic spot, as a whole, appear rather cohesive.

 Garden of Harmonious Pleasure (Xiequ Yuan)
Built in 1751, the Garden of Harmonious Pleasure is located in the northeast corner of the Summer Palace. It is also named Huishan Park, for it was built according to the Garden Conferring Pleasure (Jichang Yuan) on Huishan Hill in Wuxi. In 1811, Emperor Jiaqing rebuilt it, added the main structure Hanyuan Hall, and renamed it ‘Garden of Harmonious Pleasures’ from the poem “Huishan Park Eight Sights Prelude” written by Emperor Qianlong. Just as its name shows, there are indeed “Eight Funs” in the garden , namely, the fun of time, the fun of sound, the fun of book, the fun of bridge, the fun of building, the fun of picture, the fun of corridor and the fun of imitation.

 North Palace Gate
The North Palace Gate, located behind the hills and rocks north of Suzhou Street, is a main gate of the Summer Palace. Emperor Qianlong always reviewed the troops of the eight banners (administrative divisions of the Manchu families in the Qing Dynasty) at this gate. In front of the gate, there is a large screen wall facing south, with a height of 1.15 meters (3.8 feet). It was moved here from the Old Summer Palace in 1947.

 Go to the Next Scenic Area: Longevity Hill - Scattered Sights Area 

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