The Summer Palace

Yiheyuan Summer Palace

The Empress Dowager Cixi, one of the most fascinating and controversial figures in modern Chinese history, loved this summer resort which now stands as a symbol of the extravagance that led to the decline of the Qing Dynasty. Many elegant pavilions and corridors were built around the immense Kunming Lake, where visitors enjoy the scenery on pedal boats or ice skates, depending on the season.