() is the central lake
on the grounds of the Summer Palace
. Together with the Longevity Hill
, Kunming Lake forms the key landscape features of the Summer Palace gardens.
With an area of , Kunming Lake covers approximately three quarters of the Summer Palace grounds. It is fairly shallow with an average depth of only . Since the lake develops a solid ice cover in winter, it is used for ice skating
Kunming Lake is a man-made lake. Its predecessors were called Wengshan (Jar Hill) Pond
and Xihu Lake
. They were reservoirs which had been used as sources of water both for the city and irrigation of fields over a period of 3,500 years. Guo Shoujing
, a famous astronomer and engineer in his time, developed it into a reservoir for the capital of the Yuan Dynasty
in 1291. The conversion of the area into an imperial garden was commissioned by the Qianlong Emperor
with the work being carried out between 1750 and 1764. In the course of creating the gardens, the lake area was extended by a workforce of almost 10,000 laborers.
In the year 1990 and 1991, the Beijing Municipal Government undertook the first dredging of the lake in 240 years. A total of 652,600 cubic meters of sludge were removed in the work. 205 Japanese bombs dropped during the Sino-Japanese War
were also found.
With its three large islands, Kunming Lake represents the traditional Chinese garden element of the "fairy......