To say the Lingering Garden is a typical Suzhou garden is like saying Coca-Cola is a typical soft drink. The Lingering Garden is one of the four classical gardens in Suzhou City, equally famous as the Summer Palace in Beijing, the Mountain Summer Resort in Chengde, and the Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou. It was included in the World Heritage List in Dec. 1997.
Located outside of the Changmen Gate of Suzhou, the Lingering Garden was first constructed in 1593 during the Ming Dynasty, with an area of 23,300 square meters (250,799 square feet). The Lingering Garden, integrating dwelling houses, a shrine, a nunnery and a garden, is divided into four scenic zones.
The central part features artificial hills, limpid ponds and towering ancient trees, resembling a long scroll of traditional Chinese painting; the eastern part consists of some courtyards, architectural structures with double eaves, winding corridors, oddly-shaped rocks; the western part, with a quiet environment, is mainly occupied by artificial hills covered with luxuriant maple trees, showing wild interest; and the northern part is composed of bamboo fences and small cottages, full of the rural flavor. It is also exhibited with hundreds of amazing and treasured potted plants in the northern scenic area. These four parts are connected by a 700-meter (about 0.4 miles) long corridor, on the wall of which calligraphy carved on the stone can be found.
The number of the buildings in Lingering Garden is the most among all the gardens in Suzhou. The Lingering Garden seeks to create stunning natural landscapes within limited space. In the garden, artificial hills, ponds, plants, halls, pavilions, corridors and white walls make perfect combinations of all-sized landscapes. The best spot in this 400-year-old garden is the hexagonal-roofed pavilion on top of the very small hill. From here, you can take in the view of the pond, with the houses in the background.
The most famous scenic spot in Lingering Garden is the Cloud-capped Peak, the landmark of the Lingering Garden. The Cloud-capped Peak is 6.5-metre-high, standing aloft to the north of the hall with its reflection in the still water of a pool in front. It is the finest and the highest of its kind found in Suzhou’s classic gardens, believed to be left behind by the imperial collector of the Northern Song Dynasty. It is the most outstanding one of the Taihu Lake Stones, with all the characteristics gathering together.
The number of steles in the Lingering Garden has never been surpassed by any other garden in Suzhou. Masterfully inscribed with the works of over 100 calligraphers in the Jin, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, they illustrate the evolution of Chinese calligraphy during the past 1,000 years.
(The Fish Fossil, one of the three treasures of Lingering Garden, is a natural picture on a piece of marble. The patterns on the marble look like a stream surround by mountains, and cliffs.)
Add: No.338, Liuyuan Road, Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China
Opening Hours: 07:30 to 17:00
Admission: High seasons (April 16 ~ October 30) 40yuan ; Low seasons (October 31 ~ April 15) 30yuan.
Getting there: You can take bus No. 11 or Tourism Bus No. 1 or 2 to get there.