Summer Mountain Resort
The Mountain Resort (the Qing dynasty's summer palace) was built between 1703 and 1792. It is a vast complex of palaces and administrative and ceremonial buildings. Temples of various architectural styles and imperial gardens blend harmoniously into a landscape of lakes, pastureland and forests. In addition to its aesthetic interest, the Mountain Resort is a rare historic vestige of the final development of feudal society in China.
Outlying Temples (Eight Outer Temples)
Putuozongcheng (Potala) Palace, modelled after Lhasa's Potala Palace, is the largest and the most impressive of the Chengde palaces and was built in 1790 by Qianlong for his 60th birthday. The Potala Temple, its tapering windows and slab-sided walls obviously influenced by Tibet, is in no way "a copy of the Potala Temple in Lhasa". Many windows are blind, and several outbuildings are solid, just intended to add to the massy splendor of the whole.
Xumifushou Miao (Temple of Happiness and Longevity at Mount Sumeru)
Partly inspired by Tashilhunpo in Tibet, this temple was constructed to make the Panchen Lama, number two in the Tibetan religious hierarchy, feel at home during a visit in 1780.
Pule Si (Temple of Universal Joy)
Tibetan advisors were employed in the design of this temple, built to receive annual tributary visits from defeated Mongol tribes. But the most striking element is the copy at the rear of the circular Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests from the Temple of Heaven. Shady benches around the quiet courtyards make perfect picnic stops.
Puning Si (Temple of Universal Peace)
The main Hall of Mahayana is impressive -- story upon story of red walls and yellow roofs, topped with a gold knob surrounded by four mini-pagoda-like points. More impressive still is its contents, a giant copper-colored wooden Guanyin figure more than 22m (73 ft.) high, the largest of its kind in the world. It's possible to climb three levels of interior galleries to look the figure in the eye, as she sits in dusty gloom.