Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Yu Yuan Gardens – Shanghai

Besides the World Expo, the Yu Yuan Gardens is also a must see in Shanghai. The Yu Yuan Gardens, are said to be one of the most historically popular gardens in Shanghai. Possibly even one of the most well known natural landmarks in all of China.

The garden was first built in 1559 and took up to 20 years to complete. The garden was finished in 1577 by a government officer of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) named Pan Yunduan."Yu" in Chinese means pleasing and satisfying. This garden was specially built for Pan's parents as a place for them to enjoy a tranquil and happy time in their old age.

The style of the garden takes after a gardening style that was popularized during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The garden is composed of a maze of pavilions, grottoes, lotus ponds, and rickety bridges crossing lazy streams. The gardens stretch over an area of 20,000 square miles (or approximately 5 acres), and everywhere you turn there is something different and elaborate to look at.

Located within the Garden is a Five-Dragon wall, which is a monument dedicated to the mythical creature. It is said that, “The original design had each of the dragons with a total of five claws - legend has it that when the wall was first completed, during the reign of the Qing dynasty the feudal ruler regarded the fifth claw as a sign of unmitigated irreverence, since all the royal palaces featured four claw dragons. He then cut one of the claws of each dragon.”

The Five-Dragon Wall divides the garden into six different views; the Grand Rockery, Ten-Thousand-Flower Pavilion, Hall of Heralding Spring, Hall of Jade Magnificence, Inner Garden, and Lotus Pool.

The Grand Rockery- a rockery made of huangshi stone (12 m high),that features peaks, cliffs, winding caves and gorges. This scenery was possibly created by Zhang Nanyang during the Ming Dynasty. This area also contains the Sansui (Three Corn Ears) Hall.

"Ten - Thousand - Flower Pavilion"-also known as Wanhua Chamber - you will find pavilions, corridors, streams, courtyards as well as many other natural features. Wanhua Chamber is a delicately chased building surrounded by cloisters. Spring bamboos grow beside the cloisters.

Heralding Spring Hall- (Dianchun) - was built in 1820, the first year of the Emperor Daoguang's reign. From September 1853 to February 1855, it served as the base of the Small Swords Society(Xiaodao Hui).

Jade Magnificence Hall-(Yuhua) - furnished with rosewood pieces from the Ming Dynasty.
(The Jade rock, is one of the three most famous rocks in the Southern Region of the Yangtze River. The rock is 3.3 meters (about 10.8 feet) in height and has 72 holes.)

Inner Garden- rockeries, ponds, pavilions, and towers, first laid out in 1709 and more recently recreated in 1956 by combining its east and west gardens.
("The Inner Garden is compact and exquisite, and the rocks, pavilions, ornamental ponds and flower walls offer some of the most attractive scenery in Yu Yuan Garden.")

Lotus Pool- is a zigzag bridge and mid-lake pavilion.

Next to the entrance of the Yu Yuan Garden is the Huxinting Tea House. Which was once considered to be a part of the gardens, the tea house is now one of the most famous tea houses in China. Completely surrounding the Gardens is a shopping center, that is jammed with antique and souvenir shops. Nearby, you can find the Temple of the Town Gods.

Does the Yu Yuan garden sound like something you would like to see? Well it is something that you can see! The Yu Yuan Garden is just one of the many stops on a majority of the tours that we offer here at China Discovery Tours.

If you would like to take a look at the different tours that we have to offer, you can link directly to the tour page here. http://www.chinadiscoverytours.com/CD/2010-tour-packages.html

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get into contact with us. Thanks.

China Discovery Tours!
Toll Free: 1-866-992-4462

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