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A number of notables, including Lu Ji (187A.D.-219A.D.), the Mayor of Yulin of the Wu State in the Three States period, Dai Yong (378 A.D.-447 A.D.), a man of noble character in the Eastern Jin Dynasty, and Lu Guimeng (?- about 881 A.D.), the late Tang poet, used to build their garden-houses in historical sequence on the same site of the garden.During the 4th year of the reign of Zhengde of the Ming Dynasty (1509 A.D.) the imperial inspector Wang Xianchen returned to Suzhou after retiring from public life and built his garden. He borrowed the idea from the essay by the Jin writer Pan Yue, saying,¡° To cultivate my garden and sell my vegetable crop... is the policy of humble man.¡±Hence the name. There used to be 31 sights in the garden, including the Ruo Shu Hall and the Meng Yin Tower. With the luxuriant vegetation,meandering brooks and pools, the beauty of the Humble Administrator's Garden surpassed all others in Suzhou. In the 12th year of the reign of Jiajing (1533A.D.), the famous painter and calligrapher Wen Zhengming wrote an essay about the Wangs' Humble Administrator's Garden, painted 31 scrolls of paintings relevant to the garden, each having a poem describing a particular scene. Marked by vicissitudes, the garden has changed hands a number of times ever since its birth. In the 10th year of the reign of Xianfeng, Li Xiucheng, the Loyal Prince of the Heavenly Kingdom, made it his palace. In the 2nd yearof the reign of Tongzhi (1863 A.D.), it belonged to the Jiangsu Governor Li Hongzhang,whose office was set up within. In the 11th year of the reign of Tongzhi, it became the seat of the Banner Men's Association. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, the garden was repaired,and started to open to the public on Nov.6, 1952.ª¥ª¥ª¥ª¥

Covering 51,950 sq.m., the Humble Administrator's Garden is the largest of all classical gardens in Suzhou. It is centered upon the broad expanse of a lake, making up about one fifth of the total area.With well-spaced buildings, the garden landscape and waterscape are simple, extensive and natural, possessing the traditional appearances of the Ming Dynasty. It is divided into three parts: the eastern, middle and western parts. The house lies in the south of the garden.

The middle part is the cream of the garden with marvellous mountains, clearwater, exquisite buildings and exuberant trees and flowers reminiscent of the scenery in the south of the Lower Yangtze. Lying here and there to the south of the lake are garden buildings and courts in clusters. On an east-west axis there's the Hall of Drifting Fragrance in the middle, flanked by the Loquat Garden Court, the Malus Micromalus Makina Court, the Poeny Pavilion, the Listening to the Sound of Rain Pavilion, the Small Canglang, ¡° A Pure Mind Thinks Deep ¡±, and the Magnolia Hall.Rising from the lake are the East and West Hills made from a mixture of earth and rocks, and covered with trees. The Prunus Mume Pavilion and the Orange Pavilion stand atop of the hills. By the side of the lake there are forsythias gently stroking the surface of water, and bringing about delightful effects of nature. Much of the surprise comes from the disposition of the Fragrant Isle, the Pavilion in Lotus Breezes and the Mountain-in-View Tower to the west of the lake. From the Secluded Pavilion of Firmiana Simplex and Bamboo one is able to catch sight of the Pagoda of Paying Debts of Gratitude in distance. The picturesque scene of the pagoda mirrored in water is an example of the garden technique called¡°borrowed viewfrom afar ¡±.ª¥

The buildings in the western part of the garden are properly arranged by the lake. To the south of the lake is a big mandarin ducks' hall with two halves. The northern half is named ¡° the Hall of 36 Pairs of Mandarin Ducks¡± and the southern half ¡°the Hall of 18 Camellias¡±.Built to the west of the lake are the Inducalamus Pavilion,the ¡°With Whom Shall I Sit?¡± Pavilion, the Floating Green Tower, the Stay-and-Listen Pavilion and the Pagoda Reflection Pavilion. Going up and down and in a zigzag, a unique veranda over the water is a structure built along the wall to the east of the lake. The Good-For-Both-Families Pavilion and the Reflection Tower face each other from the ends of the veranda with nearby scenes reflected in water, creating perhaps a most wonderful view in the western part. The Good-For-Both-Families Pavilion on the top of the hill overlooks the middle and western parts, another example of the garden technique called ¡°borrowed view from near¡±.ª¥

Decorated with the Cymbidium Virens Hall, the Lotus Pavilion, the Celestial Spring Pavilion, the Far Away Looking Pavilion and the All Blue Pavilion, the eastern part of the garden has verdant hills with pines and bamboo, distant islands encircled by winding streams, and an extensive area of grass, flowers and trees. Glowing out of the mud, lotus blooms still keep themselves pure and clean. The farther their smell drifts the purer it becomes. A good number of buildings in the garden are named after lotus blooms, often known as ¡°a true person of virtue¡± among flowers, such as the Hall of Drifting Fragrance, the Lotus Pavilion,the Pavilion in the Lotus Breezes, and the Stay-and-ListenPavilion, expressing the theme of the whole garden --- to be as pure as lotus blooms.ª¥

Lying to the south of the garden is the house, which is the typical residence in Suzhou. On a north-south axis there are four successive buildings, namely the Sedan-Chair Hall, the Reception Hall and two two-storeyed buildings. To the east of the axis are the Mandarin Ducks' Hall with flower-basket decoration, the Flower Hall and the Four-Sided Viewing Hall.ª¥

The Humble Administrator's Garden boasts altogether 48 different buildings,101 parallel couplets and door plateaux, 40 stelae, 21 precious old trees, namely Wistaria, Sabina chinensis, Pterocarya stenoptera, etc. falling into 13 different catalogues, and over 700 bonsai (potted landscape) kept in the Bonsai Garden in the western part of the garden ,representing the Suzhou style bonsai, one of the four leading bonsai styles in China.ª¥

the Canglang Pavilion Canglang Pavilion is located in the southern part of Suzhou, and is one of the four most famous gardens of the city...

Humble Administor's Garden Humble Administrator's Garden, covering about 52,000 sq. meters (12.85 acres), is the largest and most renowned...

Tiger Hill Tiger Hill, known also as Surging Sea Hill, is a large hillock covering some14100 square metres (over three acres) and is 36 metres (118 feet) in height...

Hanshan Temple Cold Mountain Temple, also called Hanshan Si in Pinyin, is situated five kilometers (about three miles) from Fengqiao Old Town in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province...

Lion Garden The Lion Garden is famous for "Eighteen Sights of Peach Land". Each sight was designate with a poetic name...

Liu Garden Liu Garden (Lingering Garden) is situated outside the Chong Men. One of the largest gardens in Suzhou...

Zhouzhuang  Zhouzhuang, one of the most famous water townships in China, situated in Kunshan City which is only 30 kilometers (18 miles) southeast of Suzhou...

Luzhi  Located in Kunshan city about 25 kilometers east of Suzhou, Luzhi is an old but extremely beautiful water town...

Tongli Town  Originally named Fushi, Tongli is an age-old but very well preserved water township with a history of more than 1,000 years...


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