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Humble Administrator's Garden

Suzhou is a pretty city renowned for its classic gardens throughout the nation. The Humble Administrator's Garden is the largest and most famous classic garden in Suzhou. Its exquisite beauty, artistic value and historic significant establish the garden, as one of China's four most famous gardens, other three being the Summer Palace in Beijing, the Mountain Resort of Chengde in Hebei Province and the Lingering Garden in Suzhou. It also listed as a World Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO in 1997.

Covering an area of 52,000 square meters (12.85 acres), the Humble Administrator's Garden was began to built in 1509 AD during the Ming Dynasty (1368 AD - 1644 AD) and was finished after 16 years of elaborate work. It was initially a private residence of a government administrator named Wang Xianchen. It was said that he was tired of official life and want to build himself a garden to do some gardening work like planting trees and vegetable, which he believed should be a life of a humble man. Hence is the name of the garden.

Humble Administrator's Garden Humble Administrator's Garden
Fine arrangement of the lake, building, bridge and plant The pavilion in the central part

The Humble Administrator's Garden is centered upon a lake of large size, making up about one fifth of the total area. The buildings are carefully arranged in order to match the natural beauty of lakes, ponds, artificial mountains, and various vegetation and flora. And therefore, the garden landscape and water scape are simple, extensive and natural, and yet not at all dull since the scenes are distinctive, changeful and are of interest.

The garden is divided into three sections - the eastern, middle and the western sections. The middle part is the gem of the garden with clear water, various shaped stones and mountains, elegant buildings and leafy old trees and colorful flowers. When stepping into the garden, you will find a lake of peaceful water and many parasols and ancient cypresses near the bank. To the opposite of the pond is the main building Hall of Distant Fragrance (Yuanxiang Tang). The building is beautifully designed, and the reflection of the pavilions, trees and flowers just make up a beautiful picture. And you may just imagine that you are walking through 3-D Chinese painting.

Humble Administrator's Garden Suzhou Humble Administrator's Garden Suzhou
The beautiful Lotus Waterside Pavilion in the eastern section of the garden The delicate interior of the Liuting Hall in the west part of the garden

The eastern part of the garden features verdant hills covered with pine and bamboo trees and encircled by winding streams, and an extensive area of grass, flowers and trees. The highlight spots include the Furong (Lotus) Waterside Pavilion and the Tianquan (Heaven Spring) Pavilion, which are very finely built and make beautiful reflections on the ponds. The tranquil and peaceful west section boasts rich water views with a lake at the center, around which are zigzagging corridors and Yuanyang (Mandarin Duck) Pavilion.

There are so many scenes and spots you can discover in the Humble Administrator's Garden. When you are strolling deeper, the landscapes change and you can linger for a while to take in the distinctive charm of the spots and pick out your favorites. Learn some little stories and history of the spots and you will know it is the literary talent that makes the scenes artistic and poetic.

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