DU Wiki > Ämnen - Subjects > Tourism studies > KG3012 > Seminar 1 Cultural and natural World Heritage sites > China's World Heritage Sites by He Meng Ya > The Summer Palace - an Imperial Garden in Beijing, China

The Summer Palace - an Imperial Garden in Beijing, China

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    The Summer Palace is situated in the Haidian District of Beijing, China. It is the largest (2.9 square kilometers)and the most well-preserved royal park in China. The Summer Palace is famous for its masterpiece of landscape and large scale, which is mainly dominated by Longevity Hill (60 meters high) and the Kunming Lake (2.2 square kilometers)(World Heritage Site, 2004).


    Background: The Summer Palace was created by the Qing Emperor Qianlong and first built in 1750 as a luxurious royal garden for royal families to rest and recreation. During the Second Opium War (1856-60), the garden was destroyed by the allied forces. Afterwards, it was reconstructed by Emperor Guangxu and for use by Empress Dowager Cixi in 1895. It was damaged in 1900 by the international expeditionary force and restored two years later. In 1924, the Summer Palace became a public park and was preserved at present (UNESCO, 2013).


    Undoubtedly, the Summer Palace is a potent symbol of one of the major world civilizations and played a key role in the development of cultural throughout the east. In 1998, UNESCO listed the Summer Palace on its World Cultural Heritage. Nowadays, it is a popular tourist destination but also serves as a recreational park (UNESCO, 2013).


    Managerial challenges: The protection of historical and cultural heritage is the most significant issue. The increasing number of tourists that travel to discover this cultural heritage site might damage the historical relics. In July of 2013, the Beijing News (2013) reported that several Buddha statues at the Summer Palace are missing their heads. Most people assumed that the heads had been stolen by tourists. Since the heads have been found two moths later, the environmental problem turns to be the concerns. A member of staff at the Summer Palace explained that temperature changes caused the heads to expand and eventually loosening them from the statues (China Daily, 2013). Therefore, the major challenge is to enhance the quality of environment in the current.




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    Comments (3)

    Viewing 3 of 3 comments: view all
    The debate that you manage to describe with the help of the daily press in Beijing is very interesting. I realize how easy it is to blame tourists to be responsible for the destruction of the site’s statues. However, much bigger issue became obvious the overall status of the environment in this region. It is something that could be connected to the climate change? Do you think that a managerial plan concerning this issue was developed and is put in place? Or it is only talks and as soon as people forget about it the things would be ‘business as usual’? What do you think?
    Best, Albina
    Posted 15:09, 12 Nov 2013
    Loved to read about this site, I've seen pictures of the palace and it is big but I never knew the real dimensions, thanks for that information. I did not know that stone expanded to the point the heads fell off, this is new for me, great jobs with this information.
    Good job again!
    Posted 18:55, 12 Nov 2013
    I enjoyed reading the article and immediately went on google to find a picture of it and it looks amazing with all the water around it. There are some parallels to the heritage site I presented since part of it is also a ruler´s summer palace, build during the 18th century, with a huge park surrounding it.
    The story with the fallen off heads made me laugh a bit and I like that you used a newspaper source there.
    But I am a bit confused, it is called "summer palace" but it is "just" a very large garden with some temples, right? Why is it called palace then? Is there a palace building in the garden?
    Regards, Steffi
    Posted 22:10, 13 Nov 2013
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