Chengde Mountain Resort
When the heat of Beijing got too much for the Emperors of the time, the Chengde Mountain Resort is where you would find them. Set amongst the fantastic scenery of Hebei Province, the Chengde Mountain Resort covers a huge portion of Chengde city as the largest imperial garden of the world.
The Resort’s construction began in the early 1700s and wasn’t completed until almost 90 years later. By this time the complex covered nearly half of Chengde’s urban area. Palaces, ceremonial buildings, gardens, lakes and forests made up the majority of the Resort with mountains creating a natural curtain which conveniently obstructs the cold winds from blowing through.
The Chengde Mountain Resort is separated into four distinct sections; the Palace Area, Lake Area, Plain Area and Mountain Area. At the south of the Resort is the Palace Area where palace buildings are congregated, constructed to resemble the Forbidden City. Just north of the Palace Area is the Lake Area with its several inlets, beautiful reflections and gorgeous surrounds. Again further north is the vast Plain Area blanketed with thick grass, shrubs and trees.
The largest section is the Mountain Area northwest of the Resort. The mountains run north to south and are formed out of four valleys scattered by temples, pavilions and other buildings. Further to these, the Chengde Mountain Resort has three main structures you should not miss while visiting; the Puning Si, the Pule Si and the Bishu Shanzhuang.
The most famous aspect of the Resort are the 72 Emperor named scenic spots, many of which replicate other famous gardens like the ‘Tower of Mist and Rain’ which is a copied idea from Nanhu lake’s tower in Jiaxing.
Listed as an UNESCO site in 1994, the Chengde Mountain Resort continues to be a summer retreat for locals and foreigners alike.