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Lingering Garden

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  • Suzhou Lingering Garden
    Suzhou Lingering Garden
  • Inside a Hall in the Lingering Garden
    Inside a Hall in the Lingering Garden
  • Beautiful Scenery in Lingering Garden
    Beautiful Scenery in Lingering Garden
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Lingering Garden (Liuyuan) is located at No.338, Liuyuan Road, outside of Changmen Gate, Suzhou. It is one of the four most famous gardens in China, which also include the Humble Administrator's Garden (Jiangsu), the Summer Palace (Beijing) and the Chengde Imperial Summer Resort (Hebei). It was built in the style of the prosperous Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911), with an area of 23,300 square meters (250,799 square feet). It earns its reputation for its delicate layout, exquisite buildings and unique rocks. In 1997, Lingering Garden was listed on the 'World's Heritage List' by UNESCO.

It was initially named East Garden when it was built by an officer named Xu Taishi in the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). In the Qing Dynasty, it was owned by a local official named Liu Shu, so the name of the garden was changed into Liuyuan (garden of Liu's family). The third owner, Sheng Xuren, reconstructed it and renamed it 'Lingering Garden' (in Chinese, 'lingering' is 'liu', which has the same pronunciation with the family name 'Liu').

The number of the buildings in Lingering Garden is the most among all the gardens in Suzhou. In the garden, artificial hills, ponds, plants, halls, pavilions, corridors and white walls make perfect combinations of all-sized landscapes. The garden consists of four major sections which are the central scenic area, the eastern scenic area, the western scenic area and the northern scenic area. The four sections are connected by a 700 m (2,296 feet) long corridor.

 Central Scenic Area
This section centers upon a wide pond, and to the west and north of the pond are hills, while to the east and south are buildings. The artificial hills in the north and west of the pond are piled with earth and yellow rocks, on which there are rows of ancient trees. The buildings in the east and south are arranged randomly, shaded with the hills and trees. The representative buildings of the Central Section are the Hanbishan Villa, the Mingse Tower, the West Tower and the Quxi Tower. 

 Eastern Scenic Area
The East Section is clustered with buildings and courtyards, such as the Crane Hall, the Shilin Mini Courtyard and the Yifeng Pavilion, among which the most famous one is the Celestial Hall of Five Peaks. The hall is also known as the Nanmu Hall because its beams and pillars are made of nanmu wood (a kind of precious wood in China). Even the screens in the hall are made of rosewood and gingko, hence the high status of the hall. There is another treasure making the hall famous, which is a piece of fish fossil. The fossil is about one meter in diameter and only 15 mm thick, on which there are more than 20 vivid fish whose bones can be seen clearly. It is said the fossil formed 140 million years ago, in the late Jurassic period. Furthermore, there are many unique rocks in the east section, among which the Cloud-Capped Peak standing north of the Celestial Hall of Five Peaks is the most famous one. The Cloud-Capped Peak is the highest limestone in the garden, which is 6.5 m (21.3 feet) high. The stone is one of the typical Taihu stones which are very thin, wrinkled, and full of holes. The Cloud-Capped Peak, along with the Celestial Hall of Five Peaks and the fish fossil are the 'Three Treasures' of Lingering Garden.

 Western Scenic Area
The West Section is mainly occupied by artificial hills covered with luxuriant maple trees. The Zhile Pavilion and Shuxiao Pavilion are shaded by the maple trees which are green and shady in summer and turns to rosy red in autumn. If you stand on the hills, the beautiful scenery around will fall under your eyes. On the north of the hill, a narrow stream flows through. A small pavilion near the stream is surrounded by willows, where there is also a peach garden named Xiaotaowu.

 Northern Scenic Area
This section is planted with bamboos, plums, peaches and almond trees, and is exhibited with hundreds of amazing and treasured potted plants. There is also a small village named 'Youyicun (another village)' here. The name of the village was from a famous line 'Where the hills and streams end and there seems no road beyond, amidst shading willows and blooming flowers another village appears.' written by Lu You, a famous poet of the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279).

 Entrance Fee: 
CNY 40 (Apr. 16th to Oct. 30th)
CNY 30 (Oct. 31st to Apr. 15th) 

 Opening Hours: 07:30 - 17:00 

1. By Bus: Take Bus No. 11 or Tourism Bus No. 1 or 2 from Suzhou City to Lingering Garden.
2. By Taxi: Take a taxi from Suzhou Railway Station or downtown Suzhou to Lingering Garden (less than CNY 10).

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