Yuyuan Garden, maybe the most celebrated classical Chinese garden in Shanghai, is located in the northeast of the old town with an area of fives acres.The garden each year attracts countless visitors at home and abroad.
Yu Yuan Garden was first built in 1559 and the construction lasted for 19 years. It appears much larger on account of skilful landscape gardening - with paths winding through charming pavilions, delightful grottoes, beautiful lotus ponds, quaint bridges and trickling streams. The art of decoration also finds expression in the brick engravings and wood carvings everywhere in the garden which reflect the style of southern China in the Ming and Qing dynasties. The beautiful scenery can be compared with the four famous gardens in Suzhou.
Built in a style that Suzhou gardens often take, Yuyuan garden is characterized by exquisite layout, beautiful scenery and the artistic architecture. Each pavilion, hall, stone and stream in the garden can express the quintessence of South China landscape design from Ming and Qing dynasties.
The bounding wall in the garden, decorated with dragon''s heads and paved by scale-like tiles on top, looks like a huge wandering dragon. People named it Five-dragon Wall. More interesting is that each dragon in this wall only has four claws. Legend goes that when the wall was first completed in the Qing dynasty, like the dragon in royal palaces, they all have four claws. The feudal ruler, regarding it as a sign of irreverence and rebellion, then cut one of the claws of each dragon.
There are totally 30 scenic spots scatter in this garden. Five-dragon-wall subdivide the garden into six spots including Grand Rockery, Ten-Thousand-Flower Pavilion, Hall of Heralding Spring, Hall of Jade Magnificence, Inner Garden, and Lotus Pool.
The garden is acknowledged as "an architectural miracle in the region south of Yangtze River".