The Lingering Garden is regarded as a masterpiece of classical Chinese garden style and is one of China’s four most famous gardens. The garden was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997.
It is said that when you visit the garden you linger between heaven and earth.
Within a space of six acres there are 42 rooms and halls and 700 meters of covered walks connecting them. There is a Small Fairly Isle by a lake that is filled with gold fish.
The landscapes are miniature but natural, and include a mountain, a forest, a lake, pine and bamboo groves, ancient trees, and many intimate gardens.
The garden has had different owners since it was constructed at the end of the 16th century in the Ming Dynasty. It is divided into four sections and the oldest is the Central Garden, which features buildings around a pond. The second owner, Liu Shu, had calligraphy carved in many of the corridors.
An artificial mountain called Shi Ping Peak is in the Eastern section. During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) twelve tall limestone rocks were added to the garden, symbolizing mountains. The Auspicious Cloud-Capped Peak, which is a massive piece of limestone from Lake Tai, has become the centerpiece of the garden.
There are ancient trees in the middle section.
The Celestial Hall of Five Peaks is the largest hall in the garden. Musical instruments are played in the Worshipping Stone Pavilion.
A small courtyard has a forest made of stone. There is mosaic pavement and a couple hundred latticed windows of different styles.
Wisteria grows over the pergolas by the lake.
As you move from structure to structure, you appreciate the carefully composed scenes for the garden is renowned for the artistic ways it treats these spaces.
By Sylvia Fanjoy
Photo credits Sylvia Fanjoy
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