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Lingering Garden

Lingering Garden is a renowned classical Chinese garden. It is located at 338 Liuyuan Rd. Suzhou, Jiangsu province, China . It is recognized with other classical Suzhou gardens as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1997, the garden, along with other classical gardens in Suzhou, was recorded by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The garden also stores two UNESCO Intangible World Heritage Arts; Pingtan and Guqin music.

Location:No.338, Liuyuan Road, Jinchang District, Suzhou, Jiangsu Province;
Opening time:07:30-17:00,daily;
Tel:86-10-6351-8284;
Best time for visit: all year long
Recommended time for a visit:2 hours
Open: 07:30-17:00,daily; Tickets:RMB40,in high season (Apr 16th-Oct 30th), CNY30 in low season (Oct 31st-Apr 15th).
Website:www.lingering-garden.com

How to Get There

1) take Tourist bus line No.1, buses No.7, 22, 44, 70, 85, and get off at the stop of Liu Yuan Lu ( Lingering Garden Road); 2) take Tourist bus lines No.3, 5 and buses No.6, 317, and get off at the stop of Xi Yuan ( West Garden); 3) take buses No.33, 88, 91, and get off at the stop of Zhong Yi Yuan (Institute of traditional Chinese medicine).

Introduction

As one of the Four Best Known Classical Gardens of China, Lingering Garden of Suzhou is celebrated for ingenious layout of architectures and a great deal of rare rocks. It was inscribed in the first batch of cultural relics protected under the nation in 1961 and in the World Heritage List in 1997.
Covering about 2 hectares, Lingering Garden is a combinative product of residential houses, ancestral temple and gardens. It experts in architectures, and is adept in creating contrastive effects on surrounded scenes between big and small, straight and zigzag, light and shade, and high and low. The number of architectures in Lingering Garden crowns all gardens in Suzhou. It consists of dozens of small gardens and courtyards divided by architectures, such as halls, corridors, walls, and doors, with rockeries, pools, flowers and trees. The masterly utilizing of spaces of Lingering Garden is the embodiment of superb techniques, outstanding intelligence, great artistic styles and features of Chinese southern classical gardens.

History

Lingering Garden is located outside the Changmen gate of Suzhou, Jiangsu province. It was commissioned by Xu Taishi, an impeached and later exonerated official in 1593 CE. Stonemason Zhou Shicheng designed and built the East Garden as it was initially called. The East Garden became famous in its day when the magistrates of Wu and Changzhou County both praised the design of Shi Ping Peak, a rockery constructed to resemble Tiantai Mountain in Putao.
Ownership passed to Liu Su, another official in 1798 CE. After extensive reconstruction, he renamed it Cold Green Village after a verse, "clean cold color of bamboo, limpid green light of water". Keeping with that theme, he added pine and bamboo groves. He was an avid collector of Scholar stones and added 12 more to the garden housing them in the "stone forest". It was also at this time the "Celestial Hall of Five Peaks" was built. The garden soon acquired the nickname "Liu Yuan" from the owner's surname. From 1823 CE the garden was open to public, and became a famed resort.
Ownership passed to Sheng Kang, a provincial treasurer of Hubei in 1873 CE. He repaired the damaged caused to the garden by the chaos of the Taiping. After three years the reconstruction was complete in 1876 CE, and the garden was renamed to Liu Yuan . The name, while homophonous to an older name, connotes leisure and is thus pays tribute to the former owner as well as the resort period of the garden. It was at this time the "Auspicious Cloud Capped Peak" stone was moved to its current location.[2] The garden was inherited by Sheng Xuanhuai from his father, he abandoned the garden in 1911 and it fell into disrepair.
During Sino-Japanese War, the garden was abandoned again, and it even degenerated into breeding zone for army's horses. After establishment of the People's Republic of China, Suzhou government took over and renovated the garden. It was reopened to the public in 1954.In 2001 the garden was added to the UNESCO Word Heritage list, and remains a major tourist destination.
Since its creation the Lingering Garden has been well received by critics and has inspired artists. The East Garden is described and praised in Sketches of Gardens and Pavilions by Yuan Hongdao (magistrate of Changzhou County), "...It is the best of its kind south of the Yangtze River."It was also described in the work Notes on the Hou Yue Tang by Jiang Yingke (magistrate of Wu County). After the East Garden was transformed into the Lingering Garden it was again praised by Yu Yue in his Notes on Lingering Garden, "The rockeries plants pavilions towers and halls are among the best in Wu County."

Design

The 23,310 m2 garden is divided into four distinctly themed sections; East, Central, West, and North.The Central area is the oldest part of the garden. Buildings, the primary feature of any Chinese garden, occupy one third of the total area. A unique feature this garden is the 700 m covered walk which connects them.The built elements of the garden are grouped by section.The ensemble of structures in the central garden encircles a pond and grotto main feature. The grotto is constructed of yellowstone granite and was created by the noted artist Zhou Binzhong. The Eastern section of the garden is arrayed around the cloud capped peak stone. A central courtyard is ringing by buildings. Behind the Old Hermit Scholars' House is the Small Court of Stone Forest, a collection of Scholar stones and connected minor courtyards. The western section is mostly natural containing only a few pavilions, a large artificial hill, and a Penzai garden.

Art of architecture in the garden

To appreciate the Lingering Garden of Suzhou, the architectures should be the first, which win great reputation to the garden for delicate arts and techniques. Architectures make up one third of the total area of the garden and divide the garden into four sections with various scenes. All parts are apart by walls but connected by veranda and visible landscapes though lattice-windows and arch doors. The long corridor is measured over 670 meters and equipped with over 200 windows in diverse shapes.
The other feature of architecture in Lingering Garden is the artistic methods of dealing with spaces between inside and outside. Generally, an open space is reserved for a water view in the front, and a wall with an advantageous window is set to picturesquely introduce in land landscapes. It can be concluded that the whole design is in harmony that architectures make up an independent courtyard, while courtyard embraces buildings.

Three Wonders in Lingering Garden

- Guanyun Peak: It is a nonesuch erodierter Kalkstein with all features of great lake rock, such as lean, wrinkling, and transparent. It is said that this rare rock is a relic of Song Dynasty (960-1279).

- Nanmu Hall :It is a nickname of Wufengxian Hall ( Five-Peak Immortal Hall). The hall is sumptuously built with all beams and columns being made of nanmu, and screens being made of rosewood. Being designed in elegant style with spacious windows, the outside delicate scenes are ingeniously borrowed and the hall is just brilliant and bright unlike other dark and spooky ancient houses.

- The Portray of the Sun Shines after the Rain :It is a natural formed landscape painting on a marble exhibited in Nanmu Hall. The central of the marble surface are faintly mountains and overlapped cantalevers, the underpart are gurgling waters and waterfalls, while the upper part are graceful clouds, and the upper central is a round sun or moon. It remains a mystery that how the uncanny picture took shape and how amcient people transported such a marble completely from Yunnan Province to Suzhou City in the past.

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