Saturday, October 13, 2012

Day 5 - Cultural visits

We started the day by visiting the Summer Palace (Yihe Yuan).

A little background of the Summer Palace:
The Summer Palace is mainly dominated by the Longevity Hill and Kunning Lake. It covers an expanse of 2.9 square kilometers, three quarters of which is water. The central Kunming Lake covering 2.2 square kilometers was entirely man-made and the excavated soil was used to build the Longevity Hill. In the Summer Palace, there is a variety of palaces, gardens and other classical-styled architectural structures.

In December 1998, UNESCO included the Summer Palace on its World Heritage List and declared the Summer Palace "a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. The natural landscape of hills and open water is combined with artificial features such as pavilions. halls, palaces, templates and bridges to form a harmonious ensemble of outstanding aesthetic value". It is a popular tourist destination but also serves as a recreational park.

History of the Summer Palace:
The Summer Palace started our life as the 'Garden of Clear Ripples (Qingyi Yuan)' in 1750. Artisans reproduces the garden architecture styles of various palaces in China. Kunming Lake was created by extending an existing body of water to imitate the West Lake in Hangzhou. The palace complex suffered 2 major attacks--during the Anglo-French allied invasion of 186 and during the Boxer Rebellion, in an attack by the 8 allied powers in 1900. The garden survived and was rebuilt in 1886 and 1902; In 1888, it was given the current name. Yihe Yuan. It served as summer resort for Empress CiXi  who diverted 30 million taels of silver into reconstruction and enlargement of the Summer Palace.
Map of Yihe Yuan

People performing at the entrance

The "failure" rock


After which, we went to the Bird Nest and National Aquatics Centre where the Olympics was held in 2008. Even though we could not enter the Bird nest and water cube, we could still snap some photographs and enjoy the sight despite the humid weather.

And lastly, we visited the shihe yuan. We took a trishaw and toured around the streets before arriving at shihe yuan.The trishaw uncle was rather old and I pitied him as he still had to do this for a living. I know it was not an easy job to pedal with additional weight and it made me think of my future. We discussed about the future and how the uncle had manged to motivate me to work harder now so that I could enjoy life after that. As Singapore continues to develop to a first world country, life would get more and more competitive. Even if I wanted to work as a trishaw rider, I may not even stand a chance. In fact, we can hardly find trishaws around Singapore anymore.

When we reached Shihe yuan. the speaker provided us with details of the different rooms. Apparently, unlike the modern houses that we live in, each room was meant for a particular status and gender. Like the daughters of the family would have the room on the west wing, etc.

Yam and Abbey on the trishaw
Old vases
Roses in the garden


The dog that tried to attack Ysm
I had gained a lot of cultural knowledge from just this day alone.

No comments:

Post a Comment