The Garden of Harmonious Interests at Summer Palace - Beijing Destination Guide
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The Garden of Harmonious Interests

The Garden of Harmonious Interests at Summer PalaceThe Garden of Harmonious Interests was designed like Jichangyuan (Garden for Ease of Mind) in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province. In 1751, when Emperor Qianlong was on his first inspection tour to the South of the Yangtze River, he saw the Jichangyuan in Huishan of Wuxi, inscripted in his grandfather s calligraphy, he loved it so much that he ordered it be copied and rebuilt in the Summer Palace (then called "Garden of Clear Ripples"). When it was finished, it was named Huishan Garden . In 1811, it was reconstructed and renamed as the Garden of Harmonious Interests. lt was restored several times afterwards.

Every year, Empress Dowager Ci'xi spent her summer time in the Summer Palace, and one of her favorite pastimes was fishing for pleasure. Those devoted eunuchs, in order to curry favor with the Empress Dowager, always dived into the water with live fish before she arrived, and whenever she fished, she could always get many fish which were put on the hooks by the eunuchs. Therefore she was always happy and almost got addicted to it. When she was tired, she just went to the Hall of Far Vistas for relaxation.

The Garden of Harmonious Interests at Summer PalaceThere's a reason behind the change of the name of the Garden. It was taken from Emperor Qianlong's preface for The Poem on Eight Scenes of Huishan Garden: "a pavilion a path, a pace a scene, the scene changes with each pace, and each pace is of great interests". The eight interests of the garden are:

1. Interest of Seasons.
The scene changes with the changes of the four different seasons, and each scene is unique. Take summer for example, lotus are in full blossom and the fragrance of all the flowers fill the whole garden.

2. Interest of Water
Water drop into the pond from the Rear Lake through the bamboo groves. "The Jade Violin Gorge" in the garden creates a melodious sound effect.

3. Interest of Bridge
Bridges in this garden are of different styles, some connect the different paths, some bridges face water on one side, against aisle on the other. Among the bridges, the most famous one is Know-the-Fish Bridge. Their fame was built on an argument between two philosophers, Zhuang Zi and Hui Zi, about 2,500 years ago.

The Garden of Harmonious Interests at Summer PalaceZhuang Zi claimed: "Look, what happy fish!"
Hui Zi asked: "You are not a fish, how do you know they are happy?"
Zhuang Zi retorted: "You are not me, how do you know I don't know?"

Hence the name Know-the-Fish bridge, it is an ideal place for fishing, Empress Dowager Ci'xi used to spent a lot of her fishing time here.

4. Interest of Calligraphy
Many masterpieces of calligraphy can be seen almost everywhere in the garden, in the forms of poems or couplets. Some are said to be written by Emperor Qianlong.

5. Interest of Pavilion
In the north there is a new building. Looking from outside the garden, you can see it is a one storey building, but when looking from inside the garden, it is two storeys. The difference in distance and height creates a different effect.

The Garden of Harmonious Interests at Summer Palace6.Interest of Paintings
Within the gardens are hundreds of paintings in the style of Suzhou painting which, if you are interested, may be compared with those in the Covered Walkway.

7.Interest of Walkway
Walkways of different styles connect the whole garden, there are also many twists and turns, creating a unique, mysterious atmosphere.

8.Interest of Imitation
The Garden of Harmonious Interests is the garden of garden in the Summer Palace. It is an imitation, but in a sense, it is better than its original without changing its essence in designs.

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About Summer Palace

-- The Covered Walkway & the Marble Boat
-- The Garden of Harmonious Interests
-- Historical Overview
-- East Palace Gate
-- The Hall of Benevolence and Longevity
-- Hall of Jade Billows
-- Garden of Virtuous Harmony
-- The Hall of Joyful Longevity

-- The Covered Walkway
-- The Hall of Dispelling Clouds
-- Tower of Buddist Incense
-- The Marble Boat
-- The 17-Arch Bridge
-- Bronze Ox
-- The Rear Hill and Rear Lake
-- A Bridge over Garden Waters

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