Yu Garden (Yu Yuan)

One of the best five classical gardens of Shanghai




ATTRACTIONS - Gardens and Parks


HUANGPU - Yu Garden


Yu Garden is one of the best five classical gardens of Shanghai that represents the brilliant arts and techniques in garden design and construction surviving from ancient China. It is credited with abundant prominent heritage examples created in a wide history span and the rich cultural foundation sprung up across the entire parcel of land.

The garden is located in the northeast part of the old city, lying next to Gucheng Park, and adjoining Yuyuan Bazaar and the City God Temple.

The construction of Yu Garden was started by Pan Yun Duan 潘允端 who was a local government official at the time of the year 1559, Ming Dynasty, years after the completion of the old city's fortification (1553). The construction was stuck to the expectation of building a conspicuous garden over the plot of cropland of Pan's family. Zhang Nan Yang 张南阳, a renowned landscape architect at the time was commissioned to undertake the project. Zhang exerted himself with remarkable design and took part in the construction earnestly, which eventually turned the project into a peerless artwork impressing the world. The garden was named "Yu Garden 豫园" with the wish of well-being to all family members of Pan, covering 5.9 acres on the west side of the City God temple.

However, the sheer size of the garden cost hugely on the maintenance, and it gradually became a heavy burden to the Pan family, which was considered one of the factors resulting in the falling of the family. After Pan Yun Duan's death in 1601, the garden was getting out of regular maintenance and it was not too long it got deserted. In the following decades, it underwent hand-change several times, and until 1760, it saw the turning point.

Meanwhile, in the year 1709, prior to the turning point of Yu Garden, there was a small plot of land (about 0.39 acres) on the right side of the City God temple, which was bought by some local socialites and used to build a garden on next to the temple, to facilitate worship-relating activities. After built up, it was named "Ling Yuan 灵苑" or "the Eastern Garden" to match the one on the west side - the Yu Garden

With the growing demand by locals for opening up more space to facilitate leisure and recreation activities, in 1760, some locals considered raising money to give Yu Garden a renovation, to restore the garden's original landscape and widen events space. The renovation for some reason was piecemeal completed in a total of 24 years, as the result, it restored most of the garden's original landscape, in addition, a couple of new halls and pavilions were added.

The renovation gave a rebirth to Yu Garden. Since then, it served as a public garden attached to the temple, people were allowed in freely and participated in worship-relating events and activities just like they did in the Eastern Garden.

After a peaceful period of 60 years, the burst of the First Opium War in 1842 changed something.

The incessant warfare and civil conflicts damaged the heritage of Yu Garden heavily, the rockery was torn down, the pond was filled up to the ground, the halls and pavilions were both damaged by different extents. Furthermore, since 1870, local businesses and enterprises started to set storefront and office in the garden, which brought in a massive occupation on the garden's land and contributed to the recession of the garden's landscape.

It was the administration of the People's Republic of China that initiated a program of renovation to heritage sites nationwide, in order to protect the nation's cultural treasure, Yu Garden and its adjoining Eastern Garden were both the inclusion of the list.

In 1956, the substantial renovation project was launched with the expectation of restoring the garden's original charms.

With the great efforts and devotion made by the specialists and the renovation team, the project eventually brought in remarkable achievements which revived the art expression of the classical garden construction prevailing between the Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty.

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Venue Details
  • Yu Garden (Yu Yuan)

    No.279 Old Yuyuan Street, Yu Garden


    31.227128 121.492255


    PriceCNY 30/adult, CNY 15/child

    CardsCash, WeChat Pay, AliPay, Local Cards

    HoursDaily 9am-4:30pm, last entry by 4pm


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