Yu Garden is located at the northeast corner of the old city in south Shanghai. It was first built in 1559 (Ming Dynasty). The famous Yuyuan Market is near it. Renowned traditional landscape garden in Jiangnan, it is also an historical site and tourist attraction. In 1982, it was listed as an important relic protection unit.
There are six main tourist sections in Yu Garden. Each section has its own special sights. After entering the garden, there is a big rockery with springs and small waterfalls. It is considered the best rockery in Jiangnan district. The building "Cui Xiu Tang" is the main sight in this section.
From the building "Yu He Xie" to "Wan Hua Lou", there are exquisite corridors, rivers, rockeries, courtyards. The stone hill – Jade Exquisite (Yu Ling Long in Chinese) is the treasure of the Yu Garden. It is considered the best of the famous three stones in Jiangnan district. Facing the Jade Exquisite is the building "Yu Hua Tang". Inside the building there is a traditional sanctum of the Ming Dynasty. All of the desks and chairs are made of precious rosewood.
The Inner Garden is also called the East Garden. It was first built in 1709 (during the Qing Dynasty). There are many rockeries, halls, pavilions, corridors, etc. All of the buildings are arranged at random. The main building in this garden is Qing Xue Tang. It features a Chinese traditional landscape garden. Outside the garden there is a water lily pool.
Many brick carvings, stone carvings, mud sculptures, and wood sculptures are interspersed in the Yu Garden. Among them, The Eight Immortals Going across the Sea, Guanghan Palace, etc.
Many famous artists in the Ming Dynasty wrote poems and painted here. After hundreds of years there are now thousands of precious paintings, furniture, porcelains, etc.
The garden was built by Pan during the Ming Dynasty. It was changed and rebuilt for hundreds of years by different descendents of the original builder. The garden is a maze of caves, gardens, rockeries, paths, bridges, and buildings. Even though many people have had a hand in rebuilding the garden over the centuries, it is seamlessly blended. Every corner presents a new surprise, and a totally different view. It was ingeniously built and shows the amazing architectural style of the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
1999 was the Yu Garden's 440-year-old birthday. Chairman Jiang Zemin wrote an epigraph titled "Famous Garden in the Sea" for the Yu Garden.