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The Garden of Cultivation (Yipu Garden)

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The Garden of Cultivation (Chinese: 艺圃; pinyin: Yì Pǔ; )

Garden of Cultivation (Yipu Garden)
Brief Introduction

Located in the ancient part of Suzhou city, the Garden of Cultivation (Yipu Garden) is a small scale garden but one of the best preserved examples of a Ming Dynasty classical garden in Suzhou. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Classical Gardens of Suzhou on the World Heritage List. "Due to its special history, this Garden was virtually unknown before it was listed as a UN World Cultural Heritage site." The garden highlights its simple, unsophisticated and elegant style.

Garden of Cultivation (Yipu Garden) is simple and natural, showing the typical characteristics of the gardens of the Ming Dynasty. The layout is simple and open, with a pond as the center. The Hall of Erudition and Elegance is the main hall in the garden, and to the south of the pond stands an artificial hill built with earth, with cliffs and narrow paths piled up with rocks, showing changeable and natural scenic sights.

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History of Garden of Cultivation
The Garden of Cultivation was built in 1541 CE, it was founded by Yuan Zugeng and was named the Hall of Delights. Later it was perchased by Wuzhen zhengheng in 1620CE, who was the grandson of the Wen Zhengming, the designer of the Humble Administrator's Garden, a celebrated master painter in China's history, and served as the prime minister in the late Ming Dynasty". And he rebuilt the garden to test his aesthetic theories and renamed it Herb Garden for the numerous herbs incorporated in the design. 

In the late Ming Dynasty, the Garden of Cultivation was restored by Jiang Cai, who protested against corruption by exiling himself" and renamed Jingting Mountain Villa. Later his son Jiang Shijie inherited the garden and renamed it Cultivation Garden after added the chapel of Guanyin. In 1839 CE it was transferred to the Qixiang Office of the Saint and Silk Company. In 2000 it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Main Highlights

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Feature
The Garden of Cultivation covers an area of 3,967 square meters, there are 13 pavilions, 17 tablets, and 8 stelas in total. 
The Western section is composed of several pavilions around the main Lotus Pond, a rockery, and a smaller garden addition named The Garden of Sweet Grasses. The structure of the garden is formed along a north to south axis which ties the three main elements of rockery, pool, and hall together. This style of composition is also used in the Mountain Villa with Embraced Beauty. The overall design is the simplest expression of a classical garden, there is one dominant composition, the Longevity Hall, and its associated view. 

The Garden of Sweet Grasses is a scaled down version of the main garden and consists of the Sweet Grass House and Bathing Gull Pond as well as a smaller rockery. This area is the herb (sweet grass) garden added by Wen Zhenheng. It is meant to evoke his principal of "to leave residents free from worries, make tenants unwilling to leave, and enable visitors to throw off their tiredness". 

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The pond in the middle of the garden occupies one fourth of the total area. It features mountain scenery to the south of the pond and buildings to the north. The pond has a roughly rectangular shape with coves at the southeast and southwest corners, which are spanned by low, flat and small bridges. On the east and west banks of the pond are roofed and open-sided galleries, pavilions, rocks and trees, serving transitionally as a foil to the northern and southern scenes.

At the southeast corner of the pond is the Fry Pavilion was built in the Ming Dynasty and is skirted by water on three sides, looking ancient, rustic and elegant. A moon gate in the wall that borders the pond and the mountains leads to a small garden court on the southwest, which is linked with other scenic sport.

Transportation
How to get to Garden of Cultivation
Bus Routes: Take No.31, 54, 501 and get off Changmen Stop

Information

Admission Fee: CNY 10

Opening Time: 7:30am-17:00pm

Address: No. Wenyanong, Gusu district

Time for Visit: 1 Hour

Tel: +86 512 6727 1614

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