Ancient Chinese emperors were great city builders they planned each and every aspect of a city when constructing it. Among these were the ornate and expansive Chinese gardens that are found in many historic areas of Chinese cities such as Beijing or Shanghai. The balance of various energies was important to the Chinese, thus they set aside space for gardens and open recreational areas in almost every town or city.
Though Shanghai of today is a bustling metropolis and in many ways is the engine of growth in China, this city is also home a beautiful garden known as the Yuyuan Gardens. The notion of building a garden in Shanghai was first though of by the Ming dynasty in the middle of the 16th century, the Ming dynasty’s claim to these gardens is accentuated by the presence of two Ming lions that guard the doorway which allows entrance into the garden. At the time the gardens were being built they were the most expansive and ornate of all imperial gardens in Shanghai. Some historians even claim that the expense that was spent on the Yuyuan Gardens lead to the bankruptcy of Pan family which founded it. The ownership of the garden was passed down family until it was bought over by a group of merchants in the early 18th century. They were instrumental in restoring the gardens to their former glory and opening it up to the public.
Today the extent of the gardens is about five acres and it is laid out in the traditional Chinese Suzhou style. There are six different areas consisting of rockeries, flower gardens and ornate Chinese halls which are great examples of Ming dynasty architecture.
The first section seen by a visitor is the rockery which has a maximum height of fourteen feet, from the top a birds eye view of the entire garden can be seen similar to a valley spread out below a cliff. The rockery has been designed to emulate a natural landscape complete with mountains, valleys, cliffs and waterfalls. As the Yuyuan Gardens are located close to China hotels such as Millennium & Copthorne Hotels China it can be easily accessed by tourists. Guests staying at hotels in China on business visits will defineitly benefit from the serenity offered by these historic gardens.