Also known as Yu Garden, this botanical garden was created during the Ming Dynasty by a government officer named Pan Yunduan. Yu in Chinese translates to pleasing and satisfying and Pan built this garden specifically for his parents as a place for them to enjoy a tranquil and happy time at old age. After the garden had been neglected with the decline of Pan’s family, it was bought by rich merchants over 400 years later. The garden underwent 20 years of construction only to be severely damaged by the Opium War of the 19th century. A five-year restoration project was put into effect before the garden opened to the public in 1961.
The Yuyuan Garden is located beside the City God Temple northeast of Old City of Shanghai, China. With just five acres of land, the garden is divided into six general areas laid out in Suzhou style. The garden features 36 different halls, pavilions, chambers, towers and bridges. Each area is separated by “dragon walls” with undulating gray tiled ridges and each ending in a dragon’s head. One of the Yu Garden’s most interesting displays is its Exquisite Jade Rock, a 10.8 foot rock with 72 holes in it. If you burn a stick underneath the rock, the smoke will slowly float out from all holes; if you pour water over the rock, it will slowly leak out through the holes.