China is definitely filled with beautiful temples and fabulously manicured gardens. Walking through these tranquil gardens on these hot summer days is such a peaceful experience. We spent the morning walking through this beautiful gardens enjoying the sunny weather and the cool the shade provides.
Yu yuan 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, and 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.
In the 400 years of existence, Yuyuan Garden had undergone many changes. During the late Ming Dynasty, it became very dilapidated with the decline of Pan’s family. In 1760, some rich merchants bought it and spent more than 20 years reconstructing the buildings. During the Opium War of the 19th century, it was severely damaged. The garden we got to explore is the result of a five year restoration project which began in 1956.
Yu yuan Garden occupies an area of 20,000 square meters. The pavilions, halls, rockeries, ponds and cloisters all have unique characteristics. As we entered the garden we encountered a rockery, which is called the Great Rockery. With a height of 14 meters, it is the largest as well as the oldest rockery in the southern region of the Yangtze River.
Sansui Hall was built in 1760 and was originally used to entertain guests. Later it became a place to hold ceremonies for the gentlemen and bookmen. With a height of nine meters and featuring five halls, it is the largest and most commodious structure in the garden. The name Sansui is derived from the book History of the later Han Dynasty, and means ‘propitious’ and ‘lucky’.
Wandering through the area of Yule Pavilion and Wanhua Chamber, we found numerous pavilions, corridors, streams and beautiful courtyards.
After such a peaceful morning we couldn’t wait to have a cup of lovely Chinese tea in Shanghai’s oldest teahouse.