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Hall of Happiness and Longevity

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The hall of Happiness and longevity was the residence of Empress Dowager Cixi during her stay in the Summer Palace. Rebuilt in 1889, it consists of four chambers. The east outer chamber was for her breakfast and tea. The east inner one was her dressing chamber. The west inner chamber served as her bedroom and the west outer one was her reading chamber.

In front of the hall of Happiness and Longevity, there are bronze deer, cranes and vases, representing universal peace. Trees and flowers, such as Magnolia, flowering crab apple and peony planted here are the symbols of homes full of wealth and prestige.

A big rock in the court of this hall serves as a grand decoration. A Ming official Mi Wangzhong found this strange shaped rock in Fangshan Mountain near Beijing. He wanted to ship it to his own garden inside the present Beijing University sites. His endeavor, however, did not succeed because of the financial problem. The rock was therefore left on the roadside, hence its nickname: "Family Bankruptcy Rock". Later emperor Qianlong caught sight of the rock and ordered to have it transported to the summer Palace.

The large table in the central hall served as a dining table for Empress Dowager Cixi, who would order a total of 128 courses for each meal although she tasted only a few of them. A big bowl on each side was used to contain fruit to produce a smell of fragrance. There are two embroideries in the central hall, one is of a peacock displaying its full plumage, the other is of a phoenix among 100 birds. It is said that the peacock is the most beautiful bird of all while the phoenix is the queen of birds. Empress Dowager Cixi tended to compare herself to the peacock and phoenix; as pretty as a peacock, and as honorable as the phoenix. That is why these two pieces were placed in her residence.

The chandeliers hanging from the ceiling of the hall, presented by the Germans in 1903, were china's first electric lights. The palace had its own power station. As Cixi was strongly opposed to the installation of electric lights in Beijing, the foreign merchants turned to bribe Li Lianying, the superintendent eunuch, with a lot of money. And that proved effective, for Li finally succeeded in making Cixi change her mind. Since then the electric lights have been officially used in china.

Beijing Tour Routes Covers Summer Palace:

BH-1. 3 nights 4 days Beijing tour BH-2. 4 nights 5 days Beijing tour
BH-3. 5 nights 6 days Beijing tour BH-4. 6 nights 7 days Beijing tour
BK-1. 2 days Beijing tour BK-2. 3 days Beijing tour
BK-3. 4 days Beijing tour BK-4. 5 days Beijing tour
BK-5. 6 days Beijing tour BK-6. 7 days Beijing tour
BX-1. Xingang Beijing 2 days (no hotel) BX-2. Xingang Beijing 2 days tour
BX-3. Xingang Beijing 4 days tour BJXA-3. Beijing Xian 4 days tour
BJCD-2. Beijing Chengde 6 days tour BJGL-1. Beijing Guilin Tour
BJSH-1. 5 days Beijing Shanghai Tour BJSH-2. 6 days Beijing Shanghai Tour
BJSH-3. Beijing Shanghai Suzhou Tour BJSH-4. 9 Days Beijing Shanghai Suzhou Hangzhou Tour
BJLH-1. Beijing Lhasa Tour BJXA-3. Beijing Xian 4 days tour
BJXA-5. Beijing Xian 9 days tour BJXA-4. Beijing Xian 7 days tour

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