China History Shanghai Travel

Yuyuan Gardens

Located in the centre of Shanghai’s “Old Town” is Yuyuan Gardens, one of the regions most famous classical gardens dating back to the 16th Century (Ming Dynasty). During my weekend in the city I had the opportunity to have an explore.

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Although only covering 5 acres the layout has been intricately designed to make it feel much bigger with “dragon walls” separating a total of 6 sections containing numerous ponds, doorways, bridges and rockeries lined with ornamental trees (one is claimed to be over 400 years old). If you’re looking for a stereotypical image of ancient China then this is the place to come.

Unfortunately, the experience is somewhat marred by the hordes of tour groups who pour through the site constantly with their guides loudly explaining the historical minutia. Not quite the tranquil retreat that the garden original designer, Pan Yunduan, had imagined it to be yet if you can look beyond this intrusion it’s a remarkable place that has been lucky to survive China’s turbulent history.

Author

Originally from the UK, David is designer and wanderer currently based in Kamakura. Prior to this, he lived in China and still returns frequently to continue exploring this vast and varied land. He started Randomwire in 2003 to chronicle his travels and occasional musings. Feel free to drop him a line.

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