The Summer Palace is a vast ensemble of lakes, gardens and palaces in Beijing. It was an imperial garden in the Qing dynasty. Mainly dominated by Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake, it covers an expanse of 2.9 square kilometers (1.1 square miles), three-quarters of which is water. Longevity Hill is about 200 feet high and has many buildings positioned in sequence. The front hill is rich with splendid halls and pavilions, while the back hill, in sharp contrast, is quiet with natural beauty. The central Kunming Lake, covering 540 acres, was entirely man-made and the excavated soil was used to build Longevity Hill. In December 1998, UNESCO included the Summer Palace on its World Heritage List. It 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, temples and bridges to form a harmonious ensemble of outstanding aesthetic value”.
The “Long Corridor” Stretches from the Hall of Joy and Longevity in the east to Shizhang Pavilion in the west. The entire corridor is 728 meters long and contains artistic decorations, including paintings of famous places in China, and scenes from Chinese mythology and folktales.
The Stone Boat is 36 meters long. The original wooden boat was burnt in 1860 and has been replaced with a marble copy with western style paddle wheels.