Spanning almost a thousand years, from the Northern Song dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty (11th to 19th centuries), these gardens standardized many of the critical features of classical Chinese garden design, combining natural landscapes imitating stone with artificial landscapes, hills and rivers with the strategic location of pavilions and pagodas.
The graceful aesthetics and subtlety of these professors’ gardens and their delicate design and characteristics are frequently emulated by gardens throughout China, including the different Imperial Gardens, such as those in the Chengde Mountain Resort.
The gardens of Suzhou, according to UNESCO, “reflect the evolution of Chinese landscape garden design through more than two thousand years,” and they are the “most sophisticated form” of garden art. These landscape gardens developed from the mid-Ming to early-Qing dynasties, resulting in up to 200 private gardens. Suzhou now has 69 restored gardens, all of which are declared “National Historic Sites.”
History of the Suzhou Garden
Between 1997 and 2000, UNESCO designated eight of Suzhou’s greatest gardens, as well as one in the adjacent old town of Tongli, as World Heritage Sites to symbolize the art of Suzhou-style classical gardens.
Famous Designers of Suzhou Garden
Zhang Liang, Ji Cheng, Ge Yuliang and Chen Congzhou are among the well-known Suzhou Garden designers.
The parts of Suzhou Garden
Humble Administrator’s Garden:
The Humble Administrator’s Garden is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Suzhou and one of the city’s most well-known gardens.
178 Northeast Street (178), Gusu District is the address of the Garden.
It is the biggest Garden in Suzhou, measuring 78 mu () (5.2 hectares; 13 acres), and is regarded by some as the best in southern China.
Lingering Garden, which dates back to 1593, is a well-known traditional Chinese garden.
It can be found at 338 Liuyuan Road, Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China (338).
The Garden is organized into four themed parts that are linked together by covered pathways.
A cave and a pond in yellow granite surround the central Garden. Renowned artist Zhou Binzhong designed it.
Master of the Nets Garden:
Master of the Nets Garden in Suzhou is one of the best gardens in China. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Spot and other classical gardens in Suzhou. The gardens show the skill with which Chinese gardeners merge art, nature and architecture to create unique metaphysical masterpieces. Gardeners especially respect net masters for their mastery of relative size, contrast, leaf, order and depth, and borrowing techniques.
Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty:
Lanmei Villa is a Chinese garden located in the Embroidery Museum at No. 272 Jingde Road, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province, China. In 1997, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with other classical gardens in Suzhou.
Couple’s Retreat Garden:
Lover’s Garden is a famous classical Chinese garden in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Spot and other classical gardens in Suzhou.
Garden of Cultivation:
Yangxin Garden is one of Suzhou’s best-preserved classical Ming Dynasty gardens. It is one of the classical gardens of Suzhou inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. “Due to its special history, the garden was almost unknown until it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.”
Great Wave Pavilion:
Canglang Pavilion, also translated as Dalang Pavilion, Yonglang Pavilion, or Bibo Pavilion, is one of Suzhou’s classical gardens and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located at No. 3 Canglangting Street, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province, China.
Lion Grove Garden:
The Garden Lion Grove is located at No.23 Yuanlin Road, Gusu District (formerly Pingjiang District), Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province, China. The Garden is famous for its large maze of Taihu stone caves at its centre. The Garden takes its name from the shape of these rocks, which are said to resemble lions. The Garden is a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with other classical gardens in Suzhou.
Retreat & Reflection Garden:
Tuisi Garden is a popular classical garden in China. It is located in Tongli, Wujiang City, Jiangsu Province, China. In 2001, along with other classical gardens in Suzhou, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The art of Suzhou Gardens
Only the creation of mountains and water in the Garden has the reputation of being “the quintessence of the natural landscape”. The stone field (acting as a mountain) is an essential element of the classical gardens of Suzhou.
If the rockery is the bone of the gardens of Suzhou, the water is its blood. There is no landscape or Garden without water, and water always gives life to a garden. The water is also adapted to local conditions. Suzhou enjoys a unique geographical location, great products and convenient access to water. Water flows in many ways and can form different forms of water, such as pools, fountains, waterfalls, ravines and lakes.
The buildings of the gardens of Suzhou play a double role in daily life and the vision of the landscape. Generally, the rate of built coverage of small gardens can reach 30%, while the rate of built coverage of large gardens is around 15%. According to the size and function of different gardens, their artistic configuration and combination of rights are also varied.
Plant growth is also a major art form in the construction of gardens in Suzhou. As the space changes, plants grow in different styles. The location of the plants always corresponds to the surrounding environment. A single bonsai flower or a small tree is usually placed in a small pass or the abyss of a rocky field. Some plots are planted with a specific type of plant, presenting “natural” characteristics.
Special Decoration in Suzhou Gardens
Perforated windows are decorative windows with inset perforations in walls and doors. The multiple perforated windows make the gardens of Suzhou unique. Perforated windows are not only functional devices for ventilation and lighting, but also serve as photo frames to capture unexpected views
The paths of classical gardens in Suzhou are mostly paved with gravel, cobblestones, stones and broken pottery, like carpets embroidered with exquisite patterns. As a walkway, it has the functions of anti-skid, space diving and landscaping. More than just a road, however, it’s no exaggeration to say that a sidewalk is a work of art to admire. By drawing waste from nature, the paving highlights the harmony of colors, dominated by cold tones.
Hotels close to Suzhou Garden
- Wyndham Garden Suzhou
- Garden Hotel Suzhou
- Nanlin Hotel Suzhou
- Ji Hotel Suzhou Guanqian Street
- PACE HOTEL Suzhou Guanqian Branch
- Hanting Express Suzhou Guanqian Street Leqiao Metro Station
- FX Hotel Suzhou Guanqian
- Youngor Central Hotel
- Home Inn (Suzhou Zhuhui)
- Aishangjia Boutique Hotel