Heyuan Garden, originally named Jixiao Mountain Village, is located at the central part of Xuningmen Street on the north bank of the ancient Canal. It was built by He Zhidao, a high-ranking official and dates back to the 9th year of Qing Dynasty Emperor Guangxu's reign (1883).It is the best preserved private garden in Yangzhou.
The garden is open and looks spacious due to its clever layout though in fact it's not that big. Great originality is much in evidence in the designs of houses, pavilions and rockeries and the positioning of plants, flowers and stones. Unlike normal rockeries, all those in the Heyuan Garden sit comfortably against walls. The boat-based chamber sits on tiles and stones which have been set out to resemble water. A double-corridor system gives access to east and west gardens and the houses in the garden.
The Heyuan Garden is a Chinese architectural art with some Western influences. All the iron for railings and window glass were imported from abroad. The houses are also decorated with valuable western items.
The garden is divided into three parts: the northern part is the rear garden; the central part is a courtyard in a mixed Chinese-Western style, a model of the combination of Chinese architectural art with Western style in this field; the southeastern part of it is an area of guarinite-built houses.
The eastern part is the site of the Boat Hall and the Peony Hall. North of the Boat Hall stands a building with an exotic name, "Phoenix Facing the Sun", where female guests were feasted. Theatrical performances were staged in a kiosk that stands in the center of a fish-shaped pool for the entertainment of theatre goers who were seated in a winding corridor.
The Butterfly Hall, the main hall of the garden, was where men were feasted. Ancient trees tower over the entire garden. which is a world of artificial mountains, with rocks of exotic images gazing longingly at each other and flowers in blossom in all four seasons
In the garden, ship-like buildings, corridors, fish ponds, rockworks and plants are well arranged, creating the effect of "scenery changing with pace". The garden is nicknamed "a mountain forest in the city".
Rated as a representative work of the Yangzhou gardening in the Qing Dynasty, it is now listed as a unit of the cultural relics under State protection.
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