Yu Garden: an Extraordinary, Five Century Old Chinese Garden

20090510_Shanghai_Yuyan_6573The Yu Garden is a remnant of the Ming Dynasty first conceived in 1559. In its multi-century history, the garden has suffered serious damage and undergone significant restoration to become a national monument in 1982. Situated beside the City God Temple in the City of Shanghai, Yu Garden spans an area of 2 hectares with six distinct areas. It is among the Classical Gardens of Suzhou, which are on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

Yu Garden History

Pan Yunduan of the Ming Dynasty commissioned the Yu Garden in 1559 as a gift to comfort his aging father Pan En. During the Ming Dynasty, the garden was its largest and most prestigious, though it does still have features echoing its original glory. Through the 17th and 18th centuries, ownership of Yu Garden changed many times with continual revitalization efforts to restore the grounds. In the 19th century, Yu Garden suffered such significant damage that all of its original structures were almost completely destroyed. Dianchun Hall is now the oldest structure in the garden, dating back to 1820.

Suzhou Design

Yu Garden is laid out in Suzhou style with six general areas. The Sansui Hall includes the Grand Rockery, which showcases scenery that may have been in the original design of the garden during the Ming Dynasty. The Inner Garden includes rockeries, ponds, pavilions, and towers that were first laid out in 1709 and recreated in 1956. These and the other four areas of the garden are all separated by dragon walls with gray tiled ridges, each ending in a stone dragon’s head.

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This article is part of our collection of The Most Spectacular Gardens in the World!

the most spectacular gardens in the world

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