Outgrowing its original function dedicated to providing a tranquil and meditative atmosphere for ancient Taoist poets, classical Chinese gardens later were much favored by rich families and designed as their private gardens in the Song and Ming dynasties.
There are nearly a hundred classical gardens in Suzhou – a heavenly city on earth. Ten of them are known among the best in China, and form a big draw for travelers and expats in Suzhou.
The biggest one in Suzhou, and queen of classical Chinese gardens, it is the prototype of Daguan Garden of “A Dream in Red Mansions”, one of the four great novels in ancient China. Here visitors can also watch the graceful Kun Opera.
One of China’s four classical gardens (along with Humble Administrator’s Garden, Summer Palace and Chengde Mountain Resort), Lingering Garden features 700-meter-long undulating corridors that connect the archways, pavilions, ponds and artificial hills.
#3 Lion Grove
Built in 14th Century, Lion Grove is quite small but shows subtle sophistication in the layout.
Another representative works of classical Chinese gardens, Garden of Net Master was built in 1174, and was home to many ancient scholars and litterateurs.
#5 Canglang Pavilion
The oldest classical garden in Suzhou, it was built in 1044 during North Song Dynasty.
#6 Couple’s Retreat Garden
The special yellowstone rockery, classical courtyards, small and exquisite pavilions, long winding corridors, and ponds with bridges constitute harmonious and varied scenes.
#7 Tiger Hill
Surrounded by pretty natural scenery, Tiger Hill attracts people by grand old trees and the century-old Tiger Hill Pagoda.
#8 Tuisi Garden
Water is the theme of Tuisi Garden in Tongli Ancient Town, suburb of Suzhou. An outstanding red marble boat leans against the water.
#9 Meditation Garden
3km west of Tongli, Suzhou, Meditation Garden stands out for the stunning Lingbi stones displayed in the Rare Stone Museum.
#10 Hanshan Temple
It is a Buddhist garden and houses dozens of Qing Dynasty architectures and beautiful Buddhist statues.