Glimmering on satin smooth waters like an enchanted structure of crystallized moonshine, stands the fairy bridge of a tale told long long ago. Arched into beauty, this chiseled dream of a great king stands proud even today, dreaming of days gone by when queens and kings atop her marble form, gazed mesmerized into the vista before her. The Seventeen-Arch Bridge in China, built during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799), is truly a wonder to behold.
The bridge, measuring 150 meters in length and 8 meters in width, is the largest of the thirty bridges found in the Summer Palace. The silent roar, proclaiming the glory of the days gone by, of the 544 lions carved into the bridge, echoes on the rippling river that has listened to it for many a century. Good luck awaits those who step on the arch from either side, in the form of the auspicious Chinese kylin carved into each end of the bridge. The auspicious kylin is not alone in bringing good luck to those who tread upon this sanctuary of beauty. The number nine, believed by the emperors to be auspicious is worked into the bridge through the nine arches of different sizes being built from the middle to either end of the bridge.
The Seventeen-Arch Bridge that connects the eastern shore of the Kunming Lake and Nanhu Island on the west is a sight to behold with ever-changing beauty sweeping across her pearly mass. Lion sculptures of varying expressions greet the admiring glances, while the viewer from the Longevity Hill would see the ghostly reflections of her sublime enchantment glimmering sadly in the still, still waters. Standing bold, testifying to the grandeur of yesteryear, this wonderful structure has to be visited by all who love the culture and history of China.
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