Old Summer Retreat, Chengde, China

I have long been wanting to visit old Summer Palace in Chengde.  It’s already pretty late in the year consider this place is a summer retreat, so it does get cold in the winter.  But with my mom’s visit we decided to squeeze in this trip so there is no regret this year.

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The elegant sign over the gate, with the first character (right most character) blatantly wrong, but the tour guide suggested it was an “intentional mistake” since the emperor wants the character look more elegant and balanced. Either way, you gonna get what he meant, and he was the emperor.

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Throne at the center of the first big courtyard, looking straight out to the gate.

Building with the original woodwork, all rare woods that would shine under the light.

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Where emperor would receive foreign dignitaries and showered with gifts.

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Buildings in the courtyards connected by long hallways, so even during the rainy days people could enjoy the outside.

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One of the 200 sets of bronze sign sets in the garden.  The others were all melted by the Japanese to make bullets during WII.

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stone stairs symbolizing clouds reaching second floor, as if the emperor is riding on clouds.

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Now the inside of the buildings were converted into museums displaying various items found in the Retreat.

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Glassware museum.

Original cobble stone roads, made in patterns of chrysanthemum.

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Clock museum

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Porcelain museum, with 4 half vases purely for hanging decoration.

Now, out to the garden.

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Beautiful magpies still reside all over the garden.

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Tower over see the entire garden from the center, but it was not open due to renovation.

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Entering a separate yard with a pagoda in the back.

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The pagoda was also under renovation and therefore closed.

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It still has wind bells on all of its corners.

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stone windows only served as a decoration.

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Mom was wondering how they threw these heavy stone rails on the ground, turned out they were props for movie scenes, so they were made of foam.

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Birds that live here forever because staff would leave them food.

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Another gazebo looking over the park from a mountain high up.  You can enter from the gate on the left side and walk up for an hour.

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Courtyard with lots of rockery and ample amount of water.

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Gazebo with rocks and water under it.  Emperors used to entertain his guests with foods and wine here.

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An exceedingly elegant island in the center of the lake.

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On the island.

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This is where the first few emperors lived and worked.

Elegant carvings still abound.

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Old throne.

A small custom museum nearby.

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Women’s shoes in old days, small bound shoes for bound feet and high bottom.

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rock made to resemble a turtle.

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Sunset.

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Path to cross the lake, with a few gazebos lined up to keep you out from the blazing summer sun.

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Old way of nailing everything together.  They would use big iron binds to bind the two stones together.

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