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The Long Corridor takes you to the main buildings at the foot of the hill and offers marvelous views. It was built between 1749 and 1750, because Emperor Qianlong wanted his mother to be able to go out in any kind of weather. Destroyed in 1860 and rebuilt in 1886, it was much appreciated by Empress Cixi, who used to take a stroll along it every day after breakfast.

The corridor has 273 “rooms”, each occupying the space between two pairs of columns supporting the roof. As you’ll notice, it is richly decorated with 1400 colorful paintings depicting historical characters, landscapes, flowers and birds, which virtually offer an overview of Chinese art. The octagonal pavilions at the ends of the gallery symbolize the four seasons.

Halfway along, you’ll find the Yunhui Yuyu archway, facing the lake, and the Gate of Dispelling Clouds, opposite which you can see two bronze lions and 12 stone statues of the animals of the Chinese horoscope facing the hill.


Now press pause, enjoy your walk, and press play again after the Gate of Dispelling Clouds.



You’ll find yourself in a courtyard, with a stone arch bridge, which crosses a rectangular basin and leads to the Hall of Dispelling Clouds.

This building complex was originally a temple that Emperor Qianlong had given to his mother as a birthday gift, but it was burnt down in 1860 and rebuilt as a throne room during the reign of Emperor Guangxu.

As the residence of a Son of Heaven, the building is raised on a terrace with marble balustrades, preceded by pairs of dragons and phoenixes, three-footed vases and four bronze fountains.

Inside, you can see the Nine Dragon Throne and the marvelous furnishings used to celebrate the birthday of Empress Cixi, among the finest to be found anywhere in the Summer Palace.

After visiting the pavilion, continue towards the hill to the Tower of Buddhist Incense.


An interesting fact: the Empress Dowager Cixi intended to make the Hall of Dispelling Clouds her bedroom, but when she entered, she felt ill and attributed this to the Tower of Buddhist Incense; for fear it would bring bad luck, she instead decided to live in the Hall of Joyful Longevity, and only celebrated her birthday here.



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