The 17 arch bridge is a sight to behold in Beijing's massive Summer Palace. Three tips: 1) buy the tourist map - useful and pretty, 2) Go early in the morning before the hordes, and 3) Take the ferries between the sides of the lake unless you really really like walking for hours...
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A majestically serene experience
The summer palace was one of the most beautiful places that has touched my heart. The vast expanse offered a far-reaching view that stretches as far as the eyes can see. Yet, not far away, lies the imperial accommodations and a place where the Qing emperors grant audience to their subjects. Everything in this royal compound has its special meaning and place in Chinese history and culture. Take the Phoenix which is located outside the throne chamber where the emperor once sat for example. It is symbolically significant for it represent the overriding status of the Empress Dowager over the emperor who is also her son. What happened next might be hard for any westerners to comprehend. The emperor GuangXui was murdered by his natural mother, the Empress Dowager just before she died. There are many many stories in this palace that will transport you back to the days long forgotten.