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Classical gardens adorn the city

Updated : 2020-09-01

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Wuxi, Jiangsu province [Photo/VCG]

Editor's note: A book about landscaping in Wuxi written by Sun Zhiliang, deputy director of the Wuxi City Planning Committee, was published by Tsinghua University Press recently. In the book, Sun reviews Wuxi's landscapes, culture and famous residents, highlighting the city's preference for landscaping since ancient times, and people's desire to live in this scenic city.

The bright lights of Shanghai seem to outshine many places in modern China, but only 128 kilometers away gleams another gem that is just as bright and beautiful.

Wuxi, a historic city by Taihu Lake in East China, is best known to tourists for its scenery, especially its classical gardens which reflect the surrounding mountains and waters.

Just like those in Suzhou, the ancient classical gardens of Wuxi were in former private estates, built by scholars, wealthy people, government officials and businesspeople as beautiful places where they could spend their leisure time or retirement.

These gardens may even represent the highest level of China's traditional garden design culture.

Today, visitors to wuxi are able to enjoy many well-preserved classical gardens along Taihu Lake and on Huishan Mountain.

The following five represent the best of Wuxi's ancient garden art.

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Cherry blossoms at the Yuantouzhu (Turtle Head Isle) scenic spot in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, China. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Yuantouzhu Island

Yuantouzhu Island, or Turtle Head Isle, is considered the best scenic spot on Taihu Lake, a waterway that dominates the city. The island stretches into the lake and looks like a giant turtle raising its head to look into the distance.

Constructed in 1918, Yuantouzhu Island has become one of the biggest gardens in the regions south of the Yangtze River.

More than 10 scenic spots are scattered across the site, including Elegant Scenery Hiding behind Chongshan Hill, Ten-Li Scented Lane (1 li equals 500 meters), and Sino-Japan Friendship Cherry Woods.

Yuantouzhu Park, in the most beautiful corner of Taihu Lake, is a gift from nature, where people can indulge themselves among the green hills and crystal-clear water.

In the park visitors can see stone inscriptions with paintings and calligraphy done by famous people from past dynasties.

Yuantouzhu Park was popular even before the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). In the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Liao Lun, the county magistrate in Wuxi, inscribed "Bao Yun Wu Yue" on a cliff overlooking Taihu Lake. The phrase means "the lake nurtures locals here like a mother".

In 1975, modern poet Guo Moruo wrote: "The supreme view of Taihu Lake scenery, after all, lies at Turtle Head Peninsula."

The lake and mountain at night, in the light of the setting sun with the fishermen's songs in the background always creates a poetic atmosphere.

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