Why is the Humble Administrator’s Garden special?
As one of four great Chinese gardens, the Humble Administrator’s Garden (Chinese pinyin: Zhuozhengyuan) is the largest garden in Suzhou and generally regarded as the finest garden in the southern China. Along with other classical gardens of Suzhou City, the Humble Administrator’s Garden was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
Humble Administrator’s Garden Highlight
Covering 51,950 sq. m, the Humble Administrator's Garden is centered upon the broad expanse of a lake, making up about one fifth of the total area. With well spaced buildings, the garden landscape and water scape are simple, extensive and natural, possessing the traditional appearances of the Ming Dynasty.
It is divided into three main parts; the eastern, the middle and the western parts.
The middle part of the Humble Administrator’s Garden
The middle part is the cream of the garden with marvelous mountains, clear water, exquisite buildings and exuberant trees and flower reminiscent of the scenery in the south of the Lower Yangtze.
To the south of the lake are garden buildings and courts in cluster. On an east-west axis there's the Hall of Drifting Fragrance (also known as Hall of Distant Fragrance) in the middle, flanked by the Loquat Garden Court, the Malus Micromalus Makina court, the Poeny Pavilion, the Listening to the Sound of Rain Pavilion, and the Magnolia Hall.
Rising from the lake are the east and west hills made from a mixture of earth and rocks, and covered with trees. The Prunus Mume Pavilion and the Orange Pavilion stand atop of the hills. By the side of the lake there are forsythias gently stroking the surface of water, and bringing about delightful effects of nature.
The western part of the Humble Administrator’s Garden
The buildings in the western part of the garden are properly arranged by the lake. To the south of the lake is a big mandarin duck's hall with two halves. The northern half is named "the Hall of 36 pairs of mandarin ducks" and the southern half "the hall of 18 camellias".
Built to the west of the lake are the Inducalamus Pavilion, the “With Whom Shall I Sit?” Pavilion, the Floating Green Tower, the Stay-and-Listen Pavilion, and the Pagoda Reflection Pavilion.
The eastern part of the Humble Administrator’s Garden
Decorated with the Cymbidium Virens Hall, the lotus pavilion, the Celestial Spring Pavilion, the Far Away Looking Pavilion and the All Blue Pavilion, the eastern part of the garden has verdant hills with pine and bamboo, distant islands encircled by winding streams, and an extensive area of grass, flowers and trees.
Lying to the south of the garden is the house, which is the typical residence in Suzhou. On a north-south axis there are four successive buildings, namely the Sedan-Chair Hall, the Reception Hall and two two-storeyed buildings. To the east of the axis are the Mandarin Ducks' Hall with flower-basket decoration, the Flower Hall and the Four-Sided Viewing Hall.