Suzhou - Tiger Hill
Tiger Hill, known also as Surging Sea Hill, is a large hillock covering some 14,100 square meter and is 36 meter in height. Climbing the hill, you will find a number of historical sites some of which can be traced back over 2,500 years to the founding of Suzhou. Although the hill is relatively small it has rich history.
These are just some of the highlights of what is to be found on Tiger Hill:
• The Tomb of King He Lu
In 496 BC during the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC-476 BC), He Lu, King of the Wu perished during the war fought against the Yue. His son buried him within the hill and 3 days after the funeral a white tiger came and sat upon the grave as though guarding it. From that time on it has been known as Tiger Hill.
• Tiger Hill Pagoda
The pagoda stands on the hill's summit and is the Pagoda of the Yunyan Temple. As the oldest pagoda in the vicinity of Suzhou it has come to be a symbol of the city and has the distinction of being China's Leaning Tower. Built during the Northern Song dynasty it is a 7-storey octahedron after the style of the timber pagodas built during the early Tang period. It is 48 meter high and for the past 400 years has leant 359' to the northwest.
• Sword Testing Stone and Sword Pool
King He Lu was a zealous collector of rare swords and it is said that he tested them upon this stone. The crevice thus made in the rock is the only evidence of the existence of these swords, as it is believed that they were buried beneath the Sword Pool as funerary objects. Another mystery that surrounds the tomb is the whereabouts of the remains of the 1,000 workers who built it and who were put to death upon completion of the task.
• Lu Yu Well
Lu Yu was an authority on the art of tea and wrote the first ever book on the subject entitled "The Treatise of Tea". As an old man, he lived on Tiger Hill and it was here that he wrote the final part of his book. Lu Yu excavated the well and declared that the water from it was the third best in all China. Consequent upon the research and teaching of Lu Yu tea growing and consumption came to be important factors in the daily life of the citizens of Suzhou.
• Verdant Mountain Villa
Built in the 10th year of the reign of Emperor Guangxu of the Qing dynasty, the villa is a masterpiece of the splendid gardens for which Suzhou is so famous. The Verdant Mountain Villa (Yongcui Shanzhuang) was designed so that it embraced the natural vistas and views from the halls and porches are most pleasing to the eye.
• Wanjing Villa
The ancient art of bonsai tree growing originated in China and there are thousands of magnificent specimens on display at this villa. Many of the specimens you can see have been awarded prize palms in prestigious bonsai competitions. The miniature replicas of full sized gardens are sure to amaze you and will give an insight into the skill and artistry of Chinese master gardeners that has been handed down from long ago.
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