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Lion Grove Garden Guide

-Travel to Lion Grove Garden

Situated on Yuanlin Road, Lion Grove is famous as a representative garden of the Yuan Dynasty. Originally named Bohdi Orthodox Monastery, it was built by the monk Tianru for his teacher, the monk Zhongfeng, who lived at Lion Cliff in West Tianmu Mountains in Zhejiang Province, and in the garden were a large number of rocks shaped like lions.Repaired many times during the Ming and Qing dynasties, the garden is exquisite in design and noted for its rockeries. It ranks among the unique gardens in Suzhou. And it is listed as the cultural heritage of UNESCO.

It was Emperor Qianlong who made this garden well known in China. The emperor visited the garden six times during his five inspection tours in our area south of the Yangtze River. He liked the garden and its rockeries so much that he left three inscriptions, and drew three paintings with the garden’s scenery as the theme. He also composed ten poems, one of which was inscribed on a stele displayed in the garden. Later on I would like to show some of them to you.

Behind the magnificent gate of its entrance hall is a spacious courtyard paved with rectangular stone slabs and surrounded with a corridor. And it stretches for hundreds of meters along the northern, western and southern borders of the garden. Actually the garden’s eastern and northern parts used to be living quarters. It consisted of halls, studios and pavilions. The garden’s western and southern parts are enclosed by zigzag corridors adorned with stele and kiosks. Facing the entrance hall is the Ancestors’ Memorial Hall, which is an imposing building. Displayed inside the hall is a whole set of mahogany furniture with a pair of brass lions for decoration. Hung above the white wall is a wooden plaque written with four big characters, which mean the excellent expertise in garden construction engaged by Ni Yunlin, the garden’s principal designer in the Yuan Dynasty.

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