Yu Gardens, Shanghai

If crowds don't bother you, getting lost in this maze of gates, halls and gardens might be just fine for you...
Yu gardens, the Gardens of Contentment, are located in Shanghai's Old Town by the Bund, inside the YuYuan Tourist Mart, a bazaar filled with tourists and sourvenir shops:

The Garden was foundad by the Pan family, a rich Ming-dynasty family, it was finished in 1577 and it's one of Shanghai's most ancient sights. It was damaged duing the Opium War and then restored last century.

It occupies an area of about 20 thousand meters, but they actually seem bigger than they are thanks to a smart use of rocks and elevations. Although there's a map in the entrance, it's nice to get lost in this maze of gardens, ponds, gates and halls, perhaps with a guide that may help you understand what you're seeing.

The most famous sights inside the garden are the Hall of Heralding Spring and the Exquisite Jade Rock.
The Hall of Heralding Spring was used as the headquarters of the uprising group called Small Swords Society, it also contains a beautiful stage from 1888.
The Exquisite Jade Rock is a rock that was destined to the imperial court, but the ship carrying it sank just outside Shanghai. The rock is 3 meters high and has 72 holes. They say that if you burn a joss stick just under the rock, the smoke will come out from all the holes. Also, if you pour water from the top of the rock, the water will come out from each hole.

Here's a selection of photos I shot during out visit - btw, try to visit early in the morning or on weekdays because it gets really crowded and it's difficult to take pictures with people getting in the middle all the time.

I fell in love with the moon gates of this place!

Ponds and nature:
A 21 meters tall tree that was planted 400 years ago
Dragon walls used to divide each area 
Pond with gold fish
Yu Gardens
豫园 (yuyuan)
Entrance fee: RMB 40
Address. Anren Jie 218
Tel. 63260830
Opening times: 8.30 to 17.30
Metro: Yuyuan Garden (line 10)

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