This morning we were taken to the Summer Palace which was first built in 1750 by the Qing Emperor Qianlong. It was destroyed during the Second Opium War of the 1850s and was reconstructed by Emperor Guangxu for use by Empress Dowager Cixi and renamed the Summer Palace. as we entered the Palace we were able to watch a performance of some traditional Chinese singing and also a performance of traditional instruments. Although damaged again during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 it was restored and has been a public park since 1924. we took a short walk through part of the Summer Palace and then had a cruise in a Dragon Boat across Kunming Lake. After our cruise we were back onto the bus to a restaurant for lunch.
Our next stop was the Temple of Heaven, which we entered through the South Gate. This was first built in 1420 by the Ming Emperor Yongle and was later extended and renovated by other Emperors. In this temple the Emperors would worship the God of Heaven and pray for a good harvest. Our final activity in Beijing was to visit the Silk Market and its 6 floors of shopping. Many students purchased an extra suitcase for the trip home just to make sure they can bring back all of their bargains! We had dinner at a buffet restaurant on the 6th floor and most of us squeezed in some more shopping before boarding the bus for our hotel.
We are able to have a sleep in tomorrow morning and will be leaving the hotel at 10.30am to head to Beijing airport.