Yuyuan is the most famous garden in
Shanghai. It is located in the heart of Shanghai's
Old City, not far from the Bund, one of the few
existent old tourist places in Shanghai.
The garden was finished in 1577 by a government
officer of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) named
Pan Yunduan. He used almost 20 years and all of
his savings to construct the garden in an attempt
to please his parents for them to enjoy a tranquil
and happy time in their high ages. It is called
garden "Yuyuan" - because "yu"
in Chinese means "peace and health"--
a place of peace and comfort in the heart of busy
Shanghai. YuYuan Garden is a nice place, covered
with typical Chinese architecture, with lots of
shops, bars and restaurants. Keep open until late
night gathering Chinese and foreign tourists.
Yuyuan Garden had undergone many changes in the
400 years of its existence. With the decline of
Pan's family it became very dilapidated during
the late Ming Dynasty. In 1760, some rich merchants
bought Yuyuan Garden and spent more than 20 years
reconstructing the buildings. Yuyuan Garden was
severely damaged during the Opium War of the 19th
century. So the Yuyuan Garden we see today is
the result of a five year restoration project
built in traditional Chinese style with numerous
rock and tree garden areas, ponds, dragon-lined
walls and numerous doorways and zigzagging bridges
separating the various garden areas and pavilions.
It was open to the public in September, 1961.
Now Yuyuan Garden attracts a huge number of visitors
from all over the world each year.
Entering the gates, the first building you encounter
is the Three-Corn Ear Hall. It was constructed
with five spacious rooms in Qing Dynasty style
to entertain his guests. It was served as kind
of celebration and announcement of imperial edicts
afterward. Looking up we can read a plaque inscribed,
"Mountains and Forests in the City",
reflecting the surroundings as a setting of tranquility
amidst the bustling city.
Go across the Yangshan Hall ("Hall
for Viewing the Mountain") you will see the
grand rockery with a height of 14 meters which
is called the Great Rockery made by Zhang Nanyan
a famous rockery artist in Ming Dynasty; it is
the largest as well as the oldest rockery in the
southern region of the Yangtze River. On the top
of the rockery, you can overlook the garden. Cuixiu
Hall is at the foot of the rockery. It is a quiet
and elegant place surrounded by old trees and
beautiful flowers. Visitors will find curio shops
in the Cuixiu Hall. Wandering in the area of Yule
Pavilion and Wanhua Chamber, you will find two
old trees. One is a maidenhair tree which is 21
meters tall (about 70 feet).It is said that the
tree was 400 years old.
The Dianchun Hall area is located
east of Wanhua Chamber. Dianchun Hall was once
the headquarters of Xiaodao Hui, a revolted group
who fought against the government of the Qing
Dynasty (1644-1911) during 1853-1855. On the top
the characters "Yuhua" are inscribed,
which mean "exquisite jade stone". The
Exquisite Jade Rock standing before the Yuhua
Hall is one of the three most famous rocks in
China. It is a piece of featuring rock from Lake
Tai in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province.
The walls of Yu Garden are decorated
with an undulating dragon dividing the garden
into different areas, yet it retains a harmonious
unity - the variety of scenic areas is one of
the garden's greatest characteristics. The garden
consists of 48 different scenic attractions including
the Grand Rockery, Chamber of Ten Thousand Flowers,
Spring Pavilion, Scenery Gathering Pavilion, "Yulinglong",
and Gathering the Moon Pavilion.