Seventeen-Arch Bridge in the Summer Palace, Beijing

Shiqikong Qiao

Connecting the eastern shore of Kunming Lake and Nanhu Island in the west, the Seventeen-Arch Bridge, or Shiqikong Qiao, was built during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799). The unique scenery is but one of the stunning landscapes in the Summer Palace. With the styles of Lugou Bridge (Marco Polo Bridge) in Beijing and Baodai Bridge in Suzhou, the Seventeen-Arch Bridge looks like a rainbow arching over the water.

With the biggest arch in the midst of the bridge flanked by sixteen others, visitors can count nine arches in different sizes from the middle to each end of the bridge. Number nine was believed to be the biggest yang (anode) number, an auspicious number favored by the emperors. So the bridge has seventeen arches. Including the central arch, there are nine arches from either end of the bridge.