Suzhou Lion Garden (Forest of Lions), China

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Lion Garden

The Lion Garden (The Forest of lions) is located at Yuanlin Road in Suzhou City.

It is famous for the numerous artificial hills made of pebbles. In the garden stones stand in odd postures, which look like dancing lions. Hence, people named the garden The Lion Garden.

In the second year of the reign of Zhizheng in the Yuan Dynasty (1342A.D.), Chan Master Tianru built The Lion Garden in order to commemorate his teacher Zhongfeng monk. In addition to the special layout of the pebbles, the peaks and the caves in the garden were arranged so flexibly that the artificial hills were just like a maze.

The Lion Garden is famous for "Eighteen Sights of Peach Land". Each sight was designate with a poetic name, such as Containing Sunshine, Spitting Moon, Unreliable King, Rosy Clouds, and so on. The most lively and attractive scene among them is the summit of each peak.

The main hall of the garden is Yanyutang (Hall of Swallow's Reputation). It used to be the place where the host entertained his guests. To the north of Yanyutang is a small square hall is Yuanshechengqu (Hall of Passing the Garden with Pleasure).

It was made of pebbles, terrace of flowers, young trees and so on, which presents a distinctive pleasure. On the terrace of flowers stands a stone peak made of pebbles from Taihu (Supreme Lake). The animals on the peak, which are lying, jumping and fighting look like nine lively lions. For that reason, people called the scene Jiushifeng (Summit of Nine Lions).

Walking forward from the square hall, you will find another architectural complex presenting different appeal and pleasure. The most distinctive landscape is the Garden of Five Old Pines. Standing in the verdant bamboo, each of the five old pines is more than 1000 years old. Their lush branches and leaves look like five pavilions. They deeply root in the land and take up a large area.

Passing through Wusongyuan, you will come across a tower named Jianshanlou (Tower of Watching Hills). The laid out of the yard was according to the line of Tao Yuanming:

"Picking up the chrysanthemums below the eastern hedge,
And watching the hills in the south leisurely".

An artificial hill was erect beside the chrysanthemums and pines in the yard. Standing on Jianshanlou, you will see the scenery in the yard through the window. Accordingly, the tower got the named Jianshanlou (Tower of Viewing Hills).

Actually, there are many other special scenes in the garden, for example, Hehuanting (Lotus Hall), Zhenquting (Pavilion of Real Pleasure), Shuxiang'anyinglou (Tower of Sparse Fragrance and Shadow) are distinctive and unique. It will take you lots of time to complete all the sights in The Lion Garden. The garden is really worth visiting.