Zhanyuan Garden locates in the Qinghuai Area in Nanjing, and it is also called Taiping Heavenly Kingdom History Museum. It is one of the four most famous gardens in the Southern China, and also the only well preserved Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) architectural complex in Nanjing. Zhuanyuan Garden has elegant and exquisite layout with more than 20 scenic spots totally. It covers an area of 25,100 square meters, and is recognized as the National 5A Scenic Spot.
History of Zhanyuan Garden
Zhanyuan Garden was built during the early Ming Dynasty. Actually it once was the private garden of the Zhongshan Prince, namely Xu Da. In 1645, Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) went to inspect the southern China and visit the garden, and then he titled “Zhanyuan” to the garden. In 1853, Taiping Heavenly Kingdom (1851-1868) set up the capital in Nanjing. After the establishment, it became the residence of the Taiping Rebellion leaders including Yang Xiuqing, Xiao Youhe and Lai Hanying. Later due to frequent wars, it lay deserted for many years until its restoration by the government in 1960.
Delicate and refined Zhanyuan Garden
Zhanyuan Garden is divided into two parts. The east part is the historical museum, where shows the cultural relics of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. The Taiping Rebellion was a dynamic resistance against the government led by farmers. They finally overcame the authorities and set up their own kingdom. Over 1,600 cultural relics including 20 cannons, the imperial seal and robe of the Heavenly King, the flag and sword of the army which witnessed the history are exhibited in the museum.
The most typical and famous garden landscape is located in the west part of the garden, which has the exquisite pavilions, water pools, winding pathways and various and unique rockeries. Among them, the large Taihu stone, named Xianren Feng, is the most precious treasure in the garden. It is a type of limestone, found in the mountains around Taihu Lake. It is said to be the relic dated back to the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127).
Jingmiao Hall is the main structure of Zhanyuan Garden, which are surrounded by water and rockeries. It remained the features of architectures in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. In the east, there is another strange Taihu stone named Xuelang Stone. On the stone there are characters which were carved by Su Shi, a great poet of the Northern Song Dynasty.
Inside the garden, pavilions, bamboos and pines are scattered, which decorated the garden with poetic and charming. The unique and interesting rockeries, together with the clear pools form an amazing and splendid picture of the Zhanyuan Garden.