The Covered Walkway was built in 1750 for Emperor Qianlong's mother to enjoy the rain and snow scene on the Kunming Lake. Fully painted and decorated with colorful designs and pictures, this walkway winds its way along the north shore of Kunming Lake like a colorful ribbon linking the architectures and the natural landscape.
The Covered Walkway stretches 728 metres long from the Gate of Inviting the Moon to the Shizhang Pavilion, which is in the shape of a bat, a homonymous word in Chinese with "happiness". This painted walkway marvelously inter-weaves the palatial buildings dotting Longevity Hill and the adjacent Kunming Lake, architecturally speaking, it does separate the bill from the lake, but one may just feel a subtle transition, not a clear-cut separation.
This 273 section walkway is the longest of its kind in the world, with over 14,000 different pictures painted on the beams and crossbeams. Among them are 584 landscape paintings and over 360 figure paintings, the remaining are flower-and-bird paintings. The landscape, flower-and-bird paintings are copied from the scenery of West Lake in Hangzhou by master painters who were with Emperor Qianlong on his six tours to the South of the Yangtze River.
The figure paintings, on the other hand, derived their themes from many household known Chinese ancient legends, fairy tales, folk stories and classic novels like "Strange Tales of Liaozhai", "Pilgrimage to the West", "The Romance of the Three Kingdoms", "Water Margin" and so on.
Also unique to this winding walkway are the four pavilions. They not only represent the four seasons of the year but also join the four different uneven grounds.
Visitors, while strolling along the Covered Walkway, won't feel the ground is uneven or the twists and turns because the views nearby have diverged their attention.
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