By Bonnie-Marie Hibbs.
Throughout my travels around China I had the opportunity to see a lot of different attractions and only a few gardens. Out of all the gardens I had the chance to visit this was by far my favourite and left me feeling the most impressed. This garden is beautifully landscaped with man-made hills that flow naturally into the scenery and has a great diversity of plants.
The Yuyuan Gardens are located in the Old City of Shanghai. As you wonder through these gardens there are many unique artistic styles to discover from the paintings to the placement of plants. I found myself excited to discover what may lie around every corner!
Yuyuan Gardens was first constructed during the Ming Dynasty, 1559, by Pan Yunduan. He wanted to build a garden for his father to comfort him in his old age. But the construction of the gardens was postponed for 18 years until 1577, due to Pan Yunduan being appointed as the new Governor of Sichuan.
Once the gardens were complete they were the most prestigious and largest gardens of their era in Shanghai. However, due to the expenses of the gardens the Pan family eventually fell to ruins. The Pan family was unable to keep up with the expenses of the gardens, so the gardens were passed on to new owners.
In the 19th century the gardens suffered damage from the First Opium War and the Taiping Rebellion, with almost all of the original structures completely destroyed. From 1956 – 1961 the gardens were repaired by the Shanghai Government, and were reopened to the public.
If you find yourself traveling to Shanghai in the near future I would highly recommend that you visit the Yuyuan Gardens. I only got to spend about an hour seeing these gardens but I would recommend spending a bit more time to absorb the beauty of this landscape.