- Location: No. 279, Yuyuan Old Street, Huangpu District, Shanghai, China
- Recommended reason: A world-famous and well-preserved classical garden in Shanghai; a precious card traditional culture of Shanghai
- Opening hours: 8:45-16:45 (close on Monday)
- Official website: http://www.yugarden.com.cn/page/articleView/index.html
- Entrance fee: Peak season: RMB 40p/p (Apr.1-June.30, Sept.1-Nov.30); Low season: RMB 30p/p (July 1-Aug. 31, Dec.1-next March 31)
Yu Garden is located in the northeast of Yuyuan tourism business district and next to Chenghuangmiao Old Street and Yuyuan tourism shopping mall. Yu Garden is the unique garden of Ming Dynasty in Shanghai downtown and leads the list "top 5 gardens in the south of the Yangtze River".
History of Yu Garden
Yu Garden was built in 1559 AD as a private garden. The administration commissioner of Sichuan province in Ming Dynasty, Pan Yunrui, built Yu Garden for his father to enjoy the peaceful life of old ages. It took 28 years to complete it. "Yu" means safeness and peace in ancient Chinese, that's the origin of the name "Yu Garden". Unfortunately, Pan Yunrui passed away in 1961 and his family was bankrupt. They couldn't afford enormous expense of renovation and management. In 1760, in order to keep this place of interest, some rich merchants collected money to buy Yu Garden. They spent about 20 years in restoring Yu Garden and handed over it to Chenghuangmiao.
After the First Opium War and Taiping Revolution, Yu Garden was severely damaged. Yu Garden had a large-scale renovation from the year of 1956 to 1961. Finally, Yu Garden was opened for the public in September of 1961. With a history of more than 400 years, Yu Garden was listed as a national key cultural relic's protection unit in 1982.
The Structure of Yu Garden
With an area of two hectares, Yu Garden is composed of six main scenic areas, including Sansui Hall, Wanhua Chamber, Dianchun Hall, Huijing Tower, Yuhua Hall and Inner Garden. There are more than 40 ancient architectures in Yu Garden with delicate design and exquisite layout, which perfectly illustrates the concept "imaging the big from the small". This is the expansion of spatial and artistic conception. Yu Garden is decorated with verdant trees and gorgeous flowers. With the characteristics of quietness, gracefulness and delicateness, Yu Garden is well-known for its unique design, which also represents the artistic architecture style of Ming and Qing Dynasty.
Highlights of Yu Garden
Sansui Hall Scenic Area
When you enter Yu Garden, you will one big yellow-brown stone which engraved with "Famous Garden on Sea". On May 18, 1999, the president Jiang Zemin inscribe it for celebrating the 440th anniversary of Yu Garden. One magnificent and majestic hall is called Sansui Hall which is the largest hall in Yu Garden. With a saddle roof, there are two statues standing on both sides of the roof. The left one is Zhang Fei who holds a spear, and the right one is Yan Yan who armed with a broadsword. There are various patterns of grain, corn, sorghum, melon, and vegetable are carved on the eight windows of the front door, which shows the significance of good harvest.
Big Rockery is the essence of the scenery in Yu Garden. As a relic of Ming Dynasty, Big Rockery is the oldest, the largest and the most exquisite existing yellow-stone rockery in the south of the Yangtze River. Big Rockery was designed by the gardening master of Ming Dynasty, Zhang Nanyang. It's the only existing work of Zhang Nanyang. With the height of 12 meters, Big Rockery was piped up by over 2,000 tons of yellow stones. Big Rockery has a distinct and clear structure with the near hill, the middle hill and distant hill, which is a classic work of the stacked rockery of garden. And Big Rockery is honored with the title of "City Forest".
Wanhua Chamber Scenic Area
In Wanhua Chamber, there are two ancient ginkgo trees with more than 400 years. It's said that these two ginkgo trees were planted by the owner of Wanhua Chamber is full of trees and flowers and its four corners are carved by the "four nobles of plants" - plum blossom, orchid, bamboo and chrysanthemum.
Dianchun Hall, also called the spring Hall, was the command post of Small Sword Party. There are some weapons, coins and manuscripts of the uprising displaying in Dianchun Hall. There are several dragon walls which lie to the west of Dianchun Hall. The head of dragon is made up of clay and the scales are made of tiles. In China, dragon symbolizes power and good luck. Chinese people would like to call themselves "Descendants of the Dragon".
Exquisite Jade Rock is one of the most famous stones in the south of the Yangtze River. It's also regarded as the gem of Yu Garden. It's not a jade but a Taihu stone. With the height of about 3 meters, the width of 1.5 meters, the thickness of 80 centimeters and the weight of about 3 tons, the shape of Exquisite Jade Rock was formed by water erosion. There are four standards for judging stones in ancient times, including wrinkle, leakage, lucency and thinness. Exquisite Jade Rock possesses all these characteristics, which are well-known around the world. If you pour water from the top to the bottom, the water will flow through 72 small holes of Exquisite Jade Rock, which looks like a small waterfall. If you burn the incense at the bottom, the smoke will soar from 72 small holes, which seems you place in the fairyland.
The Lantern Show of Yu Garden is the best well-known activity in Spring Festival. As a national intangible cultural heritage project, the Lantern Show of Yu Garden has become the most popular folk culture activity in Shanghai. All kinds of lanterns attracted visitors to watch. People always make wishes by the lanterns which carry their hope, pursuit and aspiration.
The Flower Show of Yu Garden began in Qing Dynasty (1796-1820) and became a custom. The Flower Show mainly includes chrysanthemum, orchid and plum blossom. These flowers are offered by the private and they will be assessed and ranked. The Plum Blossom show is usually held on the second day of the first lunar month. The Orchid Show is held in the fourth lunar month. What's more, the Chrysanthemum Show is mostly held between the ninth and the tenth lunar month.
Best time to visit Yu Garden
You can visit Yu Garden all the year around. The peak season is from April 1 to June 30 and from September 1 to November 30; the low season is from July 1 to August 31 and from December 1 to the next March 31.
How to Get to Yu Garden
Yu Garden is located in the city center, so you can take the metro Line 10 or public bus to get there. The public buses number are as follows: No. 11, 26, 64, 71, 145, 581, 715, 730, 736, 801, 926, 929, 932, 969 and 980.
Tips for visiting Yu Garden
Yu Garden stops the admission at 16:20 and closes at 16:45.
There are many steps, stone bridges, ramps, ponds, artificial rocks, caves, mosses and uneven roads in Yu Garden, so take care of children and the elderly and keep safe.
Due to the limited conditions, the park is unable to provide luggage storage service.
Yu Garden is suitable for visiting on foot. If you need to use a wheelchair, please be careful at any time.
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