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Lingering Garden

lingering-garden The Lingering Garden (or "garden for lingering in") is one of the largest gardens in Suzhou, extending over an area of 3 hectares.

It is celebrated for its artistic way of dealing with the spaces between various kinds of architectural forms, illustrated most vividly by the careful and precise placement of windows along covered walkways, designed to provide selected perspectives. Buildings make up one third of the total area of the garden, the hall of which is the most remarkable in Suzhou. The garden is separated into the middle, eastern, northern and western parts. The ancestral temple and the house lie to the south of the garden.

lingering-garden01Featuring man-made mountains and lake scenery in the west and garden courts in the east, the middle part of the garden is the original site of the Xu East Garden and the Liu Hanbi Villa, and is regarded as the best part of the whole garden. The eastern, northern and western parts are the extensions of the Sheng Garden. The eastern part is noted for its strangely shaped limestone, the northern part idyllic scenes, and the western part the delights of woody hills.

A winding roofed walkway behind the small entrance of the garden, while leading to the places of quietude, shows the masterly use of contrast between big and small, straight and zigzag, and light and shade. After strolling for about 50 meters, one can catch a glimpse of lattice-windows revealing a half visible landscape garden behind. Interestingly, the view is changing at every step.

The middle part of the garden is centered upon a lake with a man-made mountain in the northwest and a number of attractive buildings in the southwest, such as the Hanbi Mountain Villa, the Pellucid Tower, the Green Shade Pavilion, the Zigzag Stream Tower, the Hao Pu Pavilion, and the Refreshing Breeze Pavilion. The mountains are made mainly of yellow stones and earth and are believed to be designed and constructed by Zhou Binzhong. The admirable Crane House, the Small Garden of Stone Forest, the Return-to-Read Study in the east, with the Celestial Hall of Five Peaks as the chief structure, are laid out in such a way that the indoor spaces have been brought into perfect harmony with the outdoor spaces. With an evocation of infinity, they are successfully made to be labyrinthine and beautiful.