Xu Garden

Xuyuan Garden, Nanjing
Xuyuan Garden is considered the most famous garden in Jiangnan (south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River). It lies to the west of the remains of Tian Wang (Heavenly King) Palace of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. It also called West Garden. It was built in the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) and was named after a prince of the Ming dynasty since the place was once his residence. Xuyuan Garden enjoys a good reputation not only for its gardening but also for its significant place in history. It had been a part of the palace of Heavenly King of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom and temporary office of Dr. Sun Yat-Sun, when he acceded to acting president of Republic of China. So visitors will find many history traces in the garden.

The tiny garden covers merely a space of 1.4 hectares; however, it is a very unique and famous traditional Chinese garden. The stone boat in the garden with the inscription "Untied Boat" by Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty is also very unique. It is one of the most attractive spots here in the garden. The stone boat is 2.7 m wide and 15.4 m long in an artificial oblong pool. Both sides of the boat are connected with banks and winding bridges, here Taiping generals sometimes met to discuss important military matters and Dr. Sun Yat-sen often received his guests.

The western part of the courtyard is a beautiful classical garden typical of southern style, covering an area of 1.8 ha including 0.2 ha of water surface. Dotted with fragrant flowers and plants, towering old trees, shrilling cicadas and hopping birds, bridges over running water, hills mirrored on the lake, and colorful swimming fishes, the garden is full of life everywhere while the magnificent buildings are ornamented with upturned eaves and vivid dragon carvings.