china edition


Suzhou - Canglang Pavilion

Jiangsu - Lianyungang - Nanjing - Suzhou - Wuxi - Yangzhou - Zhenjiang

Canglang Pavilion (Blue Wave Pavilion), located south of Suzhou city, is the oldest garden among the existing classical gardens of Suzhou. It is also one of the 4 most famous gardens in the city; the others being: Lion Grove Garden, Humble Administrator's Garden and Lingering Garden.

The area used to be the private garden of a Prince of the Five Dynasties (907-960). During the Northern Song dynasty, the scholar Su Zimei built a pavilion in this garden and named it Canglang Pavilion. The garden has been rebuilt many times but most of the present garden buildings, simple and plain, date from the Qing dynasty.

Canglang PavilionCovering an area of 10,656 square meter, the garden, connected by a long roofed walkway, features a range of man-made mountains on the inside and waterscapes on the outside. To enter the garden, one must proceed past an expanse of water over a zigzag bridge of stone and through the entrance. It is at this point that one catches sight of a man-made mountain covered with age-old trees and bamboo.

Canglang Pavilion, in the shape of a square, stands at the top of the mountain. A parallel couplet on its stone pillars reads: "The refreshing breeze and the bright moon are priceless, the nearby water and the distant mountains strike a sentimental note". A double- corridor built by the canal lies to the north of the garden, unifying the waterscapes outside with the garden and "mountain scenery" inside. Enlightened Way Hall (Mingdao Hall), located to the south of the mountains, is the major building of the garden. It was said to have been a site for lectures during the Ming dynasty. Surrounded by verdant trees, it appears simple but dignified.

In addition to its mountains and water, the garden is also famous for its unique latticed windows. There are about 108 kinds of latticed windows with impressive designs, possessing extremely high artistic value. They are uniquely designed and elaborately made, and enjoy a high reputation among all the gardens in Suzhou.