Yuyuan Gardens

Took a cab to Yuyuan Gardens. The old Shanghai area.

Yuyuan gardens Yuyuan Garden is a famous classical garden located in Anren Jie, Shanghai. It was built by a government official, Pan Yuandan during the Ming Dynasty for his aging parents. Filial piety is deep rooted in Chinese culture and this is just one of many examples. Today, the 20,000 square meters residence is already 400 years old and is a wonderful historical window to the traditional Chinese mansions of the past.

Every turn in the garden brings you to a different scenery. And I can almost imagine I was back in the imperial days wandering some king’s garden. So much thought and effort has been put into every crook and cranny of this place and even the windows are made of specially carved rock or wood. There is just so much detail to look out for.

The most prized display in the multitude of gardens is the Exquisite Jade Rock. It’s a huge rather odd rock structure that was supposedly said to have been carried from Taihu (Tai Lake) in Wuxi, Jiangsu province. It is one of the three famous rocks in the southern region of the Yangtze River. (The other two are Duanyun Feng in Suzhou and Zhouyun Feng in Hangzhou.) The rock is 3.3 meters (about 10.8 feet) in height and has 72 holes. It looks like any old rock but it is famous because if you burn a joss stick just below the rock, the smoke will magically float out from all of the holes. Similarly, when you pour water into the rock from top, the water will flow out from each hole creating a spectacular sight to see.

Another thing I found to be really cool was that the garden areas are separated by “dragon walls” with undulating gray tiled ridges, each terminating in a gorgeously carved dragon’s head!

There were tons of Koi in the louts pool and they would all swarm towards you the moment you head near to the waters’ edge. And near the area where there was an opera stage, there lies a huge stone brick. The brick is said to be taken from the forbidden place and it’s extremely huge and heavy! Along each brick is carved the official property of the emperor so that no one would steal it! Imagine that every single stone brick in the palace is marked with the official stamp and these were from the days where things weren’t mass produced with machines!

If you are like me and culture, statues, carvings and architecture are your cup of tea, then you should not miss taking a trip to yuyuan gardens. If old mansions and gardens aren’t what you find fun and exciting then just enjoy the bazaar around yuyuan gardens instead of going in.

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