Shanghai, China: Garden of Dragons

Yu Gardens bridge, pavilion and lake.

Yu Gardens bridge, pavilion and lake.

The most delightful maze in the world is not a maze—it’s a 5-acre plot of tranquility in Shanghai’s Old Town. But once you pay your entrance fee and step inside Yu Gardens, it’s easy to get hopelessly turned around amid the tapestry of winding walkways, caves, red pavilions, carp-filled lakes, stone bridges, whimsical doorways and myriad artful rock formations (which I suspect are feng shui inspired). “Haven’t we been to this spot before,” I asked my husband more than once as we wandered around gawking at the aforementioned sights, and peering through different-shaped openings that framed the garden’s treasures.

The largest and most prestigious of its era in Shanghai, Yu Gardens was built in fits and starts during the Ming Dynasty between 1559 and 1577 by Pan Yunduan as a peaceful place for his aged father. It was first opened to the general public in 1780. Despite damage during the First Opium War, Taiping Rebellion, and in 1942 by the Japanese, it was repaired by the Shanghai government and declared a national monument in 1982.

Don’t expect orchids and other floral arrays here, but if you’re ever in Shanghai, Yu Gardens is a must-see. Be sure to go when it first opens to get ahead of the tour busses.

If you’d like to wander with me through this enchanting garden. just click on any photo to start the visual tour. But, as the sign says, “Be Careful,” because here there be dragons.

Categories: Architecture, Asia, China, culture, gardens, Photography, Stock Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Shanghai, China: Garden of Dragons

  1. Great photos; looks like a very nice trip, Jennifer.


    • Thanks so much Pat. It was a whirlwind, that’s for sure. Lots of eye candy for photography. I’m looking forward to posting the elaborate temples of Bangkok. The world is a fascinating place.


  2. Stunning images. It is wonderful to see these places, that I will never see, through your eyes.


    • What a lovely compliment. Thank you, Michelle. As a travel writer & photographer, that’s my greatest pleasure: to share what I come across in my travels. I’m so glad you enjoy the photos and that I could take you there for a brief respite.


  3. Beautiful garden photos! Glad it was not crowded as we were there. 🙂


    • Thank you, Amy. We try to get into a place when it first opens, and that usually helps with the congestion. They say, get there before the tour busses! And that is such good advice. Are your Yu garden photos up on your blog?


    • I do love looking at other people’s photos of the same places I’ve been to. It’s the looking through someone else’s eyes and seeing things differently. I’m so sorry your pics didn’t come out the way you wanted—but very glad you liked mine 🙂


  4. Jennifer, really nice work. I love the way you “frame” scenes through the use of windows, doorways etc.


    • Thanks so much. I’m delighted you liked it. I must admit the framing was easy b/c there were so many fabulous frames. I was like an excited kid going from one creatively shaped doorway to the next. The windows and rock arches were bonus. It would have made a wonderful outdoor portrait studio.


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