Summer Palace

-- Tower of Buddhist Incense --

Walking out of Hall of Dispelling Clouds and ascend halfway Longevity Hill, one reaches the Tower of Buddhist Incense. First built in 1750, the eight-facade tower is 41 meters high with three levels. Standing highly atop the Longevity Hill, this tower, as the symbol as well as the highest building of the Summer Palace, can be clearly seen everywhere around the lake.

The original tower was burned down in 1860 and was rebuilt in 1889. In 1900, when the eight imperialist powers invaded Beijing, it was destroyed again and later reconstructed for the second time in 1903.

According to the original plan of the royal garden, a nine-storey tower was built at the present site. Just before the completion of the tower, Emperor Qianlong found out that the tower was not unisonous with the surrounding nearby. Under the suggestions of some designers, the present Tower of Buddhist Incense was built instead with 780,000 taels of silver.

The tower used to be a place for emperors and empresses to pray. Empress Dowager Cixi always held praying ceremonies here on the 1st and 15th of each lunar month.

Ascending the tower, one could have a bird's eye view of the scenery of the garden. In 1987, the tower was restored again and opened to the public in 1989.

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