Suzhou's Lingering Garden, is one of the four famous China gardens in Suzhou, was first built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and then rebuilt by a Qing dynasty official. It gains its fame from its Taihu Lake rocks. This garden, occupying an area of 23,300 square meters (about 5.8 acres), was listed in 1997 as a world heritage site by the UNESCO. Like the other famous gardens in Suzhou, the Lingering Garden is a stunning landscape enclosed within a small area. This garden has buildings and temples blending in harmoniously with trees and flowers. It can be divided into central, eastern, western and northern quadrants each with a unique style of architecture.
The entire garden is divided into four scenic areas - the center, the east, the west, and the north and covers an area of two hectares. It is said that poems give us a picture. But in this case the garden gives us a poem, as reflected in the landscape design. The classic gardens in Suzhou reflect the ancient Chinese proverb that says: "in Heaven there is Paradise; on earth, Suzhou." That proverb is indicative of the ancient Chinese desire to create a version of Heaven here on earth, by controlling and perfecting nature. The "bonsai" or Chinese "Penjing" is the ultimate manifestation of this desire to control and mimic nature. The Lingering Garden is truly a heaven on earth.
With a history of more than 400 years, the Lingering Garden had changed it’s owners several times. Each owner did his best to perfect the garden. It was first built in 1593 during the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) by a retired official named Xu Tai. During the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911), it was bought by Liu Shu. As a calligraphy lover, he carved masterpieces on both sides of the corridors of the buildings. He had also collected all kinds of stones in the garden. The succeeding owners followed his model when doing restoration work. Almost demolished in the 1930s, the garden was repaired sponsored by the government and then opened to the public.
Like the other famous gardens in Suzhou, the Lingering Garden is an impressive natural garden with many beautiful sights within limited space. In this garden, domiciles, ancestral temples and private gardens are included. Buildings, trees, and flowers blend harmoniously with their surroundings. The garden can generally be divided into four parts: the central, eastern, western and northern parts according to the style of the buildings.
Of the four parts, the central part is the essence of the whole complex. This part was the original Lingering Garden while the other three were added during the Qing Dynasty. It is the first building complex that one could enjoy since he came to the garden. The central part is divided into two parts: the western part and the eastern part. The former features in pools and hills while classical buildings dominate the latter. The Celestial Hall of Five Peaks in the eastern part of the garden is the largest hall in the garden. Maples cover the hill of the western part.
When all the leaves turned red in autumn, it is extraordinarily beautiful. The northern part used to be a vegetable garden, but now is used to exhibit potted plants of which the Suzhou people are quite proud for. These four parts are connected by a 700-meter (about 0.4 miles) long corridor on the wall of which calligraphy carved on the stone can be found.
Address: No.338 Liuyuan Road, Jinchang District, Suzhou
Opening Hours: 7:30AM - 5:30PM
Admission: 40 Yuan
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