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Shanghai Yu Garden

shanghai-yu-gardenShanghai Yu Garden, a place of peace and comfort in the heart of bustling Shanghai, dates back to the fabled Ming Dynasty. Today, Yu Garden is a popular tourist destination.

Yu Garden (Yuyuan) began as a private garden created by Pan Yunduan, who spent almost 20 years - and all of his savings - to build a garden in order to please his parents in their old age. That is why he called this garden 'Yuyuan' - because 'Yu' in Chinese means 'peace and health'.

Yu Garden was finally reopened to the public in 1961, and the State Department declared it a national monument in 1982. Now Yuyuan Garden attracts countless visitors from home and abroad every year.

The present-day Yuyuan occupies an area of two hectares (5 acres) and is built in a style associated with the renowned Suzhou gardens, which are characterized by an exquisite layout, beautiful scenery and artistic architecture. Each pavilion, hall, stone and stream in the garden expresses the essence of South China's landscape design from the Ming and Qing dynasties.

There are more than 40 scenic spots scattered throughout the garden, which is divided into six parts by five boundary walls. The six scenic areas include the Grand Rockery, the Ten Thousand-Flower Pavilion, the Hall of Heralding Spring, the Hall of Jade Magnificence, the Inner Garden, and the Lotus Pool.

The Grand Rockery is the most elaborate, venerable and glorious rockery in southeastern China. Approximately 2,000 tons of stone were used to build this 14-meter-high rockery, which features perilous peaks, cliffs, winding caves, and gorges, all designed to give people a sense of visiting a real, great mountain.

To the east of the Ten Thousand-Flower Pavilion is the Dragon Wall. The white wall is decorated with a dragon's head and paved with scale-like tiles, creating the illusion that a huge, wandering dragon cruises in the garden, keeping it safe and peaceful. The dragon was designed with only four claws, not five like the dragons in the royal palaces, as a way of avoiding irreverence and rebellion in feudal society.

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