Four Most Famous Gardens in China: Humble Administrator Garden

Humble Administrator Garden, located in the northeastern corner of Suzhou ancient city, is one of the first group of key cultural relics protection sites, one of the four most famous gardens in China, a national 5A scenery site and a world cultural heritage site. 2017-09-14

Humble Administrator Garden, located in the northeastern corner of Suzhou ancient city, is one of the first group of key cultural relics protection sites, one of the four most famous gardens in China, a national 5A scenery site and a world cultural heritage site. Almost including the most prominent brand in tourism industry, the garden is a typical garden of Ming Dynasty and the largest existing classical garden in Suzhou with an area of 78 mu (5.2 hectares). The Humble Administrator Garden was not constructed overnight. In the Three Kingdoms period, the governor of East Wu Lu Ji built a mansion here, which became the residence of a poet Lu Guimeng in the Tang Dynasty, and then became Da Hong Temple in the Yuan Dynasty. In 1509, the fourth year of Zhengde period of Ming Dynasty, a failed censor Wang Xianchen was demoted and had to return to his hometown. He spent 20 years in building a garden on the ruins of Da Hong Temple and named it Humble Administrator Garden. During this period, Wen Zhengming participated in the whole process of building the garden due to his close friendship with the owner. After several sales and resales, it became the residence of the famous courtesan Liu Rushi in the early Qing Dynasty. Later, Emperor Kangxi visited the garden in his southern tour. Soon, part of the garden was purchased by Cao Yin (the grandfather of Cao Xueqin) and then it was owned by Li Xu. Thus Humble Administrator Garden is likely to be the prototype of Grand View Garden in the novel “Dream of Red Mansions” written by Cao Xueqin.



Now most of the garden is covered by water, with hills and rocks rounded by tortuous gullies; the verdant trees and flowers are embellished with pavilions, which were mostly built around water; the idyllic scenery changes at every step. The garden is divided into east, middle and west parts. The eastern part is open and spacious. Pavilions hide in mountains deeply, and the waters in front of Furong Pavilion keep a natural style of primitive simplicity of the Ming Dynasty. The central part is the essence of Humble Administrator Garden, where the pavilions are distributed around waters; the northern pond of the main hall Yuanxiang Hall is spread by lotus, which brings boundless beauty. The western part is famous for the buildings, each with its own characteristics. Especially the tortuous corridor with different height, like waves, can be described as the culminated work among corridors in Suzhou Gardens.

Famous attractions: Lotus Pavilion, Hall of Elegance, Yuanxiang Hall, Small Flying Rainbow Corridor, Xiangzhou Pavilion, Fragrant Snow and Cloud Pavilion, Pavilion of Lotus Breeze from all Side, Tower with Mountain in View, Amazing Cave, Waveform Corridor, With Whom Shall I Sit Pavilion, Thirty-Six Mandarin Duck Museum, Stay and Listen Pavilion, Floating Green Pavilion, Tower Shadow Pavilion, Green Ripple Pavilion, Waiting Frost Pavilion, Secluded Place in Bamboo, etc.

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