Lingering Garden

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Lingering Garden is a renowned classical Chinese garden. It is located at 338 Liuyuan Rd. Suzhou, Jiangsu province, China. It is recognized with other classical Suzhou gardens as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Lingering Garden
Lingering Garden

In 1997, the garden, along with other classical gardens in Suzhou, was recorded by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The garden also stores two UNESCO Intangible World Heritage Arts; Pingtan and Guqin music. The 23,310 m² garden is divided into four distinctly themed sections; East, Central, West, and North. The Central area is the oldest part of the garden. Buildings, the primary feature of any Chinese garden, occupy one third of the total area. A unique feature this garden is the 700 m covered walk which connects them.

Lingering Garden
Lingering Garden

The built elements of the garden are grouped by section. The ensemble of structures in the central garden encircles a pond and grotto main feature. The grotto is constructed of yellowstone granite and was created by the noted artist Zhou Binzhong. The Eastern section of the garden is arrayed around the cloud capped peak stone. A central courtyard is ringing by buildings. Behind the Old Hermit Scholars' House is the Small Court of Stone Forest, a collection of Scholar stones and connected minor courtyards. The western section is mostly natural containing only a few pavilions, a large artificial hill, and a Penzai garden.

Lingering Garden
Lingering Garden

Situated outside the Cang Gate of Suzhou city, the garden was built in 1583 of by Xu Taishi, a bureaucrat of the Ming court, as his private residence. Named East Garden, it is recorded to have "magnificent multi-storey houses in the front and halls in the rear, and a range of awe-inspiring stone mountains built by the well-known master Zhou Bingzhong, resembling a long scroll of landscape painting."

Lingering Garden
Lingering Garden

Later, in 1794, the garden became a property of the Liu family. After being expanded and renovated, it was renamed "Hanbi Villa", which was popularly known as "Liu Garden". In 1873, it was purchased by the Shengs, and again renamed as "Lingering Garden," since "lingering" in Chinese sounds the same as "Liu", the surname of the former owner.

Today the garden is separated into the eastern, central, northern and western parts. The central part features a man-made mountain and lakeside scenes, resembling a long scroll of traditional Chinese painting. The eastern part is noted for its joyous groupings of gardens and elegant buildings; the western part is for the enchantment of woody hills; and the northern part, cottages with bamboo fences and idyllic scenes.

An artificial hill made of rocks from Taihu lake is always a major component of Suzhou gardens. The 6.5-meter-high Cloud-Capped Peak in this garden, which is the highest of its kind found in Suzhou's classic gardens, is believed to have been a collection from Northern Song Dynasty. Weighing about five tons, the limestone is supposed to have been carried here from the Taihu Lake, 40 km away.

Lingering Garden
Lingering Garden

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.

In 1961, the garden was listed as a key national cultural relic under state protection.

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