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The Former Residence of Xue Fucheng

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The Former Residence of Xue Fucheng (Xue Family Garden), Wuxi


Brief Introduction
The Former Residence of Xue Fucheng, also named Xue Family Garden, is the biggest garden of its kind in Wuxi. Once belonging to the late Xue Fucheng, a famous ideologist and diplomat during the late Qing Dynasty (the late 19th century) and a representative of the bourgeois reformers.. Born in Jiangsu, Wuxi to a literati family. The garden was built in 1894 and covers an area of 21,000 square meters. 

Late Qing Dynasty writer/essayist, diplomat to England France, Belgium, Italy, and one of the leaders and advocate for modernization and adoption of Western technology as well as proponent for the development of capitalist industries in China during the late 19th century. Eschewing the traditional literati pursuits of writing poetry and calligraphy, Xue proposed that the government should promote pragmatic application of new technology and knowledge in strengthening China.

What to See in Xue Family Garden
The grand residence integrates both Chinese and Western architectural styles and has an open plan design fit for social interactions. As one of the prominent large bureaucratic mansions in China's modern history, the place carries an important historic, research and tourism value and fills a void in China's architectural history. The residence is known as the first grand mansion in regions south of the Yangtze River. The State Council named the residence an important culture relic site under national protection in June 2001 and the National Tourism Administration rated it a 4A scenic spot in December 2005. The most attractive scenic spots in the residence should be the Sedan Chair Hall and the Main Hall, which have unique paired pillars in two rows, dividing the nine-Kaijian hall into three rooms.

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Halls & Buildings
Xue's former residence features a luxurious hall that is considered by many to be grander than a royal palace. Its circular building features 11 rooms of standard widths, which enables tourists to savor what royal garden has to offer. As the home of a former diplomat, the architectural complex features western-styled sliding doors and a private room for billiards, fully reflecting the owner's forward thinking of the day and the city's development in ancient times. 

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Garden Design
The residence features an open court-yard adorned with beautiful gardens. The gallery bridge, pavilion and hill stone work together to create a classic garden typical of regions south of the Yangtze River. Housed within the garden are ideal sites for watching opera performances and sipping tea. Western-style theater design was applied to the building to help amplify art performances, something that was rare in China at the time. Perhaps there is no better place for visitors to experience water, courtyards and opera in a garden setting south of the Yangtze River than the residence.

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Main Hall (Wuben Hall)
It is the most splendid hall in the residence. There is a horizontal inscribed board with Chinese characters "Wubentang" hung on the middle of the wall. The inscription was written by Zeng Guofan,a top military commander from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), teacher of Xue Fucheng.

The Roundabout Building
The Roundabout Building fully manifests the local home culture in the late Qing Dynasty. It is a two-layer wooden building, with a rectangular well in the middle. The Roundabout Building is the biggest roundabout building existing in China.

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East Garden
The East Garden is the most exquisite and best-preserved ancient building in Wuxi. Sometimes, there is opera performances by local amateur players hosted here. The residence is now home to Wuxi's intangible culture heritages. The refined embroidery, bamboo carvings and Huishan clay figurines are testament to Wuxi's special folk customs and cultural resources.

How to get to Xue Familay Garden

Bus route: take bus No. 27, 40, 63, 86 and 508 buses

Travel Guide

Admission fee: CNY 25 (daytime)
                       CNY 30 (at night)
Time for Visit: 1 hour
Address: No 152, Xueqian Street, Wuxi city (Near Wuxi science and technology building).
Opening Hours:  8:30am-5:00pm
Tel: 0510-82724706; 0510-82733829

Useful tips:

 1. Restaurant nearby The Former Residence of Xue Fucheng: 
   Xishengyuan, the favorite wonton restaurant of the local people, located at No. 84 Jiankang Road, Chong'an district, near the Xueqian Street and the Former Residence of Xue Fucheng.
2. Entertainment around The Former Residence of Xue Fucheng: 
    The Ancient Stage in the East Garden (Sometimes, there are opera performance by amateur players.)

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