Day By Day

Thursday, July 16, 2009

China Diary -- Part 39 The Humble Administrator's Garden

Suzhou is world-famed for its gardens, and our next stop was perhaps the best of these, certainly the largest. Many consider it the finest garden in South China. It is called the "Humble Administrator's Garden" (Zhuozheng Yuan) and it is a UNESCO world heritage site. It was built by a retired imperial inspector in the early sixteenth century and the name reflects his turning away from the exercise of power to devote himself to the "humble" pursuit of gardening. There is nothing humble about this place. It is spectacular.

Everywhere you turn there are beautiful things to see, ranging from intricately carved windows,

to lovely expansive vistas.

It's a great place for young couples in love, and we saw several of those strolling hand in hand.

Doors and windows often function as frames for picturesque settings and the many pathways winding through the landscape have been specifically designed to create striking visual effects.

And numerous water features produce nice reflective images.

Not everyone was taken by all the beauty surrounding them.

But I certainly was.

"She Who Must Not Be Named" reminds me that famed architect, I. M. Pei lived as a boy in Suzhou. His family owned the "Garden of the Lion Forest" which adjoins the Humble Administrator garden.