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Classical Garden

Suzhou is China's well-known 'city of gardens', which tops all others in both the number and the artistry of gardens. Dating from Pi Jiang Garden of the Eastern Jing Dynasty,Suzhou's art of gardening has undergone a history of 1, 500 years. There were once over 200 gardens in the city,and 69 of them are still in good preservation today. The concept of Suzhou classical gardens has gone beyond the city limits,since it generally refers to all those private gardens built in the regions south of the Yangtze.

The Suzhou garden originated from the desire to retire from the strife of officialdom and to shun from worldly affairs. It seeks the return to Nature and the cultivation of temperament. In Taoist philosophy and the refinement of culture underlies the theme of the gardens. Hills and water,flowers and trees,pavilions, terraces,towers and halls constitute the basic garden elements,while the prominent tone is expressed in the dark colour of roof tiles,the grey of bricks,and chestnut brown of wooden pillars.

Suzhou garden is the Nature in nutshell ,which enables one to 'feel the charm of mountains,forests and springs without going out of the noisy surroundings of the town'. Its human interest also lies in it. Architects, philosophers, poets, painters, and common folk can all find in it the idea,the flavour,the lines and the rhythm. The unfolding of the garden vistas is the verisimilitude of a landscape scroll. When enjoying tea, poem,flower arrangement or playing musical instrument in the garden,one gains the most natural inspiration. To those tourists longing to understand China, Suzhou gardens are the best museum.

Local chronicles reveal that during its heyday, Suzhou city held nearly 200 gardens, topping the whole nation. Suzhou gardens have their own characteristics in layout, structure and style.The Four Classical Gardens of Suzhou, i.e.The Surging Waves Pavilion, The Lion Grove Garden, The Humble Administrator's Garden and The Lingering Garden represent the different styles of Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties.