Tower of Buddhist Incense

Buddhist Incense TowerTower of Buddhist Incense is a 3-storey building, 41 metres high, built in 1750. The Empress Dowager Cixi used to worship Gods here on the lst and 15th day of each lunar month. It was destroyed in 1860 by the Anglo-French Allied Forces and rebuilt in 1889. In 1900, when the eight imperialist powers invaded Beijing, it was destroyed again and was reconstructed for the second time in 1903. The renovation started in 1987 and was finished in September 1989. The renovation amounted to $ 270,000. The Tower of Buddhist Incense was opened to the public in early October 1989.

According to the original plan for the Garden of Clear Ripple (former name of the Summer Palace), a tower of nine storeys was built on the site of the present building. The tower was designed after the famous Liuhe (Six Harmony) Tower in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. During the construction, Emperor Qianlong had inspected the construction site frequently, and wrote several poems extolling the beautiful landscapes and the rising tower.  But when the eighth storey of the tower was finished, just before the completion of the whole tower, some of the designers argued over its design. They held that the original plan was effective only in the drawing. The nearly constructed tower did not suit the surrounding hills and lakes or its position on the top of the Longevity Hill. These designers suggested that the high and thin structure be demolished and replaced by a more imposing building. The Emperor accepted their suggestion and the Tower of Buddhist Incense was constructed instead. The results were generally acclaimed. The new building suits its setting far better than a tall, thin tower would have. And Longevity Hill appears much grander.

To the west is Baoyunge (Precious Cloud Pavilion), a pavilion made of bronze, 207 tons in weight. Inside is a bronze table weighing more than 2 tons.  All its windows were stolen by the Allied Forces of the eight powers. The Japanese aggressors took the bronze table to Tianjin, trying to ship it to Japan. After the war, it was sent back to Beijing.

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