The film allows us to discover a thousand secrets of the extraordinary imperial garden, recognized as a World Heritage treasure. From pagodas to pavilions, bridges to water courses, galleries to temples, we recognize why it is called the Versailles of the Orient.
Qianlong, one of the most educated emperors of the Qing Dynasty, built the gardens and palaces with the dual purpose of creating a system of water supply for the capital of the Empire, and to create a space for contemplation, meditation and reflection as opposed to the Forbidden City, site of the exercise of power. Connected by a canal a few miles long, the two imperial centers represented both sides of the Empire: power and strength, beauty and culture. It is also in the Summer Palace that was born the policy of opening to the World.
This emperor favoured the development of trade with the Western World, including through the silk, tea and porcelain. It should lead, unfortunately, also to the confrontation with the colonial armies in search of new lands, leading to the sack and pillage of the palace by a Franco-British army in 1860.