The Humble Administrator's Garden
Located in the northeast of Suzhou, Zhuozhengyuan (Humble Administrator's Garden), with a total area of 51,950 square metres (5.2 hectares), is the largest private garden in Suzhou. Its exquisite beauty, artistic value and historic significance establishes the garden as one of China's four most famous gardens, other three being the Summer Palace in Beijing, the Mountain Resort of Chengde in Hebei Province and the Lingering Garden in Suzhou.
The Humble Administrator's Garden began being built in 1509 AD during the Ming Dynasty (1368 AD - 1644 AD) and was finished after 16 years of elaborate work. It was initially a private residence of a government administrator named Wang Xianchen. It was said that he was tired of living an official’s life and wanted to build himself a garden in order to plant trees and vegetable, which he believed should be the life of a humble man, thus giving the garden its name.
The garden is divided into three sections - the eastern, middle and the western sections. The middle section is the gem of the garden with clear water, dynamically shaped stones and mountains, elegant buildings, old trees and colourful flowers. When stepping into the garden, you will find the lake filled with peaceful water and ancient cypresses near the bank. At the opposite end of the pond is the main building ‘Hall of Distant Fragrance’ (Yuanxiang Tang). The building is beautifully designed, and the reflection of the pavilions, trees and flowers make up a beautiful piece of scenery with visitors of the area often stating that wandering around the area is like walking around a painting.