Mudu is an ancient water town located on the shores of Taihu Lake to the southwest of Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province. Each of the water towns has its own special characteristic, Mudu distinguishes itself from the other water towns by being surrounded by hills and it is mostly famous for its excellent collection of classical gardens.
Although it has existed for over 2,500 years, as old as Suzhou, today’s Mudu took shape in the Ming and Qing dynasties. Surrounded by quiet, delicate landscape and connected to the Taihu Lake through lots of waterways, Mudu old town wins a good reputation of superb grace and elegance. Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty liked the town so much and he visited Mudu for six times, which also made Mudu Town very famous in China.
Mudu is the only ancient town worth the reputation of Chinese garden town. There are more than 30 private gardens during the Ming and Qing dynasties, including the Yans’ Garden, Hongyin Villa, and Bangyan Mansion, which are the most outstanding ones among all the gardens in Mudu.
With an area of about 10,000 sq m, the Yans’ Garden was originally the residence of a famous scholar. The Four Seasons Garden is the most unique one in the Yans’ Garden. It is small but delicate, representing the constructor’s unique art. And it is renowned as the classical work of gardens in the Yangtze River valley.
Hongyin Villa, 200 meters east to the Yans’ Garden, features for its beautiful landscapes of streams, ponds, pavilions, flowers and trees. It is once the temporary dwelling for Emperor Qianlong in Qing Dynasty, treasuring up to 20 original imperial edicts of Qing Dynasty, which are especially rare.
Bangyan Mansion at Xiatang Street presents a typical garden construction style of Qing Dynasty. The house holds three treasures of South China: a woodcarving (an upside down flower basket); a gateway arch built with carved bricks; and a stone carving.