Constructed landscapes that mimick the natural scenery of rocks, hills, and rivers. Strategically placed pavilions and pagodas. The Classical Gardens of Suzhou span a period of almost a thousand years. Known to be the most refined representation of the art of classical Chinese garden design, the 69 restored gardens here have been categorised as heritage sites.
China is known for classical gardens which contain plants known for their mystical and symbolic qualities. Each plant is selected for its symbolic meaning and its ability to evoke a natural landscape.
Said to be more than 2,500 years old, Suzhou is an important cultural center of Jiangnan in China. It is known for its well-planned layout with rivers and streets parallel to each other, and its classic gardens. The city has the longest river channel in China’s water towns, and several ancient bridges, old wells and memorial archways.
Here's a look at some of the Classical Gardens of Suzhou.
Humble Administrator’s Garden
The largest in Suzhou at 13 acres, it is regarded by some as the best classical garden in southern China. The park has many bridges and pavilions scattered around a network of interconnected pools and islands. It is divided into three main sections that are arranged around a vast lake: a central section (Zhuozheng Yuan), an Eastern section (Dwelling), and a Western section (the Supplementary Garden). The garden has many rare old trees, and more than 700 penjing/penzai in the Suzhou style.
Address: 178 Dongbei St, Gu Su Qu, Su Zhou Shi, Jiang Su Sheng, China, 215001
A pond and a Yellowstone granite grotto are the principal features encircled by old buildings in the centre. Like other Suzhou classical gardens, the Lingering Garden aspires to produce breathtaking natural sceneries in its limited space. Its ancestral temples, private gardens, buildings, trees, and flowers mix beautifully with the landscape, creating a spectacular sight.
Address: 338 Liuyuan Rd, Gusu District, Suzhou, Jiangsu, China, 215008
Master of the Nets Garden
This work of art, has a nearly 900 years of history. In 1140, the Garden's layout was first completed. The Master of the Nets Garden was originally a natural pond next to a well-stocked library, but by the 12th century, it witnessed a different face of architecture. In addition to offering a peaceful environment, the design skillfully harmonizes architecture and nature. The site is divided into distinct landscapes via covered walkways, bridges, rockeries, and pavilions.
Address: Gusu District, Suzhou, China, 215005
Lion Grove Garden
A Buddhist monk established this Garden, and the rock work around the lake has made it extensively popular. Its name comes from the abundance of rocks inside the garden that appear lion shaped. The pavilions and halls are connected by long galleries, with the principal constructions towards the North. These galleries, which go up and down, curve and twist, are renowned for their unique pattern and design. A maze of stone pathways connects the caves and caverns spread out high and low around the miniature mountains. Each cave and grotto is a distinct creation, and when combined, they form the well-known Eighteen Scenes.
Address: 23 Yuanlin Rd, Gusu District, Suzhou, Jiangsu, China, 215005