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Tiger Hill

A famous Song Dynasty poet, Su Shi said, 'It is a lifelong pity if having visited Suzhou you did not visit Tiger Hill.' This epitomises the general opinion of those who have seen this local scenic spot with its many attractions that we shall endeavour to describe for you.

Tiger Hill,also known as Surging Sea Hill, is a large hillock covering some14100 square metres (over three acres) and is 36 metres (118 feet) in height. Climbing the hill, you will find a number of historical sites, some of which can be traced back over 2500 years to the founding of Suzhou. Although the hill is relatively small it has rich history. These are just some of the highlights of what is to be found there:


The Tomb of King He Lu: In 496 BC during the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC - 476 BC), He Lu, King of the Wu perished during the war fought against the Yue. His son buried him within the hill and three days after the funeral a white tiger came and sat upon the grave as though guarding it. From that time on it has been known as Tiger Hill.


Tiger Hill Pagoda: The pagoda stands on the hill's summit and is the Pagoda of the Yunyan Temple. As the oldest pagoda in the vicinity of Suzhou it has come to be a symbol of the city and has the distinction of being China's Leaning Tower. Built during the Northern Song Dynasty (959-961) it is a seven-storey octahedron after the style of the timber pagodas built during the early Tang period. It is 48 metres high (158 feet) and for the past four hundred years has leant 359' to the northwest.

Sword Testing Stone and Sword Pool: King He Lu was a zealous collector of rare swords. It is said that he tested them upon this stone. The crevice thus made in the rock is the only evidence of the existence of these swords, as it is believed that they were buried beneath the Sword Pool as funerary objects. Another mystery that surrounds the tomb is the whereabouts of the remains of the 1,000 workers who built it and who were put to death upon completion of the task.


Lu Yu Well: Lu Yu was an authority on the art of tea and wrote the first ever book on the subject entitled 'The Treatise of Tea'. As an old man, he lived on Tiger Hill and it was here that he wrote the final part of his book. Lu Yu excavated the well and declared that the water from it was the third best all over China. Consequently, upon the research and teaching of Lu Yu tea growing and consumption came to be important part of Shuzhou citizens' daily life.


Verdant Mountain Villa: Built in the tenth year of the reign of Emperor Guangxu of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) the villa is a masterpiece of the splendid gardens for which Suzhou is so famous. The Verdant Mountain Villa (Yongcui Shanzhuang) was designed to embrace the natural vistas and views from the halls and porches.


Wanjing Villa: The ancient art of bonsai tree growing originated in China and there are thousands of magnificent specimens on display at this villa. Many of the specimens you can see have been awarded prize palms in prestigious bonsai competitions. The miniature replicas of full sized gardens are sure to amaze you and will give an insight into the skill and artistry of Chinese master gardeners that has been handed down from long ago.

There can be little doubt that Tiger Hill is a wonderful sight with its leaning pagoda, waterfalls and landscaped paths. It is hard to believe that the hill was man-made to be the burial place of king, yet another part of the wonder of China, a land that will never cease to amaze and enthral visitors with its heritage.