Introducing the Imperial Waterway
As a part of the Beijing water system, the Waterway of Empress Dowager Cixi is a considered as an archaic but modern tourist attraction. The reason why it is said to be archaic is that this river had opened up navigation since the Yuan Dynasty and continued to be used in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, amounting to more than 700 years in total. The construction of Waterway of Empress Dowager Cixi began in the years of Emperor Qianlong and flourish in the years of Emperor Guangxu. During this period of more than 200 years, Empress Dowager Cixi and 6 emperors of Qing Dynasty, including Emperor Qianlong, Emperor Jiaqing, Emperor Daoguang, Emperor Xianfeng and Emperor Guangxv, had ever excursed this waterway. Cruising along this waterway, people can take a chance to watch the three Holy Lands of Eastern Sea: the Phoenix Frusta imitating the Yingzhou Holy Land, the Tuancheng Holy Land imitating the Fangzhang Holy Land and the Nanhu Island imitating the Penglai Holy Land (Notes: Yingzhou, Fangzhang, Penglai, Daiyu and Yuanqiao are the famous holy lands in Chinese traditional legend); enroute, the Imperial four Waters can also be available: the sight of the Phoenix Frusta following that of Tai Lake, the sight of Jingming Tower following that of Dongting Lake, the West Dyke following the West Lake in Hangzhou and the Hanxv Hall following the Kunming Lake. The Imperial Waterway is also called Waterway of Empress Dowager Cixi, because she took it to the Summer Palace 32 times in her lifetime. With a history of more than 700 years, it is the only waterway in Beijing that related to the imperial families. Altogether, 6 Qing Emperors, 1 Empress Dowager, over 100 empresses and concubines had taken a boat along it to enjoy the beautiful view of Beijing.