The Chinese garden Yu Yuan follows the Suzhou horticultural tradition. The Chinese word Yu means relaxation and the word Yuan means garden. The "Garden of Relaxation" is one of the most beautiful gardens in China, which is unusual since Shanghai has otherwise only a few traditional buildings.
The private garden, created in 1559, was opened to the public in 1780 and is now one of Shanghai's main attractions. Its builder was Pan Yunduan, who started the garden after his failed civil service exam. He later became governor of Sichuan, which delayed gardening for years.
When completed in 1577, the Yu Yuan was the largest and most expensive garden in the city. The Pan family could not afford to build and maintain the garden and sold the garden shortly after the builder's death. Rebellions and wars devastated the garden so much that none of the buildings survived. The garden was finally reconstructed and reopened 1961. The Yu Yuan shines with numerous details and artistically designed buildings. The dragon wall, which ends with two dragon heads, is unique. In the Yu Garden you will find all elements of Chinese garden art, from zigzag bridge, moon gate, rock landscapes and goldfish pond. Since the Yu Garden is one of the most famous tourist attractions of Shanghai, you should be aware that you will not find peace and relaxation here any more, but this garden is so beautiful that you have to see it.
As extension of the famous "Bund", the "Huang Pu Riverpark" is situated on the northeastern river bank. The park on the Huang Pu is an interesting combination of architecture and landscape design.
The "Suzhou River" flows into the "Hunangpu" river. Previously the "Suzhou He" was a foul-smelling sewer. In 1998 the creek has been cleaned. Since then the Riverfront area has become a popular address. There is also a romatic chinese movie called "Suzhou He". Therefore the small river is quite famous in China.