Suzhou or “Venice of East” is easily accessible on a day tour from Shanghai and perfect place to avoid hustle and bustle of the big city. It’s well known for its collection of classical gardens, well preserved since the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Of the 50 gardens that survived from the original 200 dating back to the 11th century, nine are deemed so extraordinary to have been granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status. They are: The Humble Administrator’s Garden, Lingering Garden, Master-of-Nets Garden , Lion Grove Garden, Blue Wave Pavilion, Couple’s Garden, Garden of Cultivation, Garden of Retreat and Reflection and Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty.
We at China Holidays can arrange visit to all of 9 UNESCO gardens in Suzhou but that would involve spending overnight. Instead we handpicked the four most representative of classical gardens of Suzhou.
Humble Administrator’s Garden
This garden is one of the 48 UNESCO World Heritage sites in China. It’s also the most famous classical garden of China first built in the Shaoxing period since changed ownership, and was destroyed or modified.
The Garden is famous for its interlacing bridges, romantic water features and well preserved pavilions. It’s made up of three parts set around a large lake: the Central, eastern and western part.
Built in 1593 in the typical Qing style and famous for its stunning architecture, Lingering Garden is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Separated into four distinct themed sections — East, West, Central and North — can be explored by way of a connecting corridor. Of the four parts, the central part is the original base of the whole complex. This part was the original Lingering Garden.
Master of the Nets Garden
It is the smallest of the Suzhou gardens, yet it is the most impressive because of its practical use of space which creates the illusion of an area that is much larger than its actual size. This 12th century gem (later refurbished in the 18th century) and UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts an impressive garden and evening Kunqu opera performances, but it’s best known for its architectural splendour. If it looks familiar, it’s because it is — Ming Hall Garden at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is modelled after Master of the Nets Garden.
Lion Grove Garden
The garden is famous for the large labyrinthine of taihu rocks, limestone found in nearby Taihu Lake and located at its centre. The name of the garden is derived from the shape of these rocks, which are said to resemble lions. It’s also one of nine Suzhou gardens that are listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site
Additionally we add a visit to the Tiger Hill because according to famous Chinese poet “to visit Suzhou and not see Tiger Hill would lead to a lifetime of regret.” The story goes that white tiger appeared on the top of hill after the King of Wu buried his father there.
We can’t guarantee a sight of white tiger but we can guarantee an enjoyable day out to Suzhou. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.chinaholidays.co.uk