Canglang Pavilion is located in the southern
part of Suzhou, and is one of the four most famous gardens
of the city. Canglang Pavilion is the oldest of the
Suzhou gardens that can be traced back to the Northern
Song Dynasty (906-1127). During that part of history,
a scholar Su Shunqing was demoted and sent to Suzhou.
He bought the garden and built the pavilion in a setting
adjacent to water that was on the property that would
enhance the beauty of the garden.
Unlike other gardens, Canglang Pavilion
emphasizes the harmony between man made buildings and
the natural environment. Before entering the garden,
the tourists can see beautiful scenery composed of a
green water pool that is surrounded by a growth of weeping
willows. In the garden you will see incredible man made
rock formations that are divided into two parts. On
the eastern side, the earth has been mixed with natural
yellow stones and built in such a manner that it resembles
a natural hill. On the western side, exquisite stones
from the lake have been used to create another naturally
appearing hill. Both of these rock formations have been
planted with green trees and viridian bamboos that add
to the beauty of the scene and create the sensation
of walking in a primitive mountain forest. There are
also winding corridors with pavilions that link the
hills and pools together. As you walk along these corridors
that follows a path alongside the unique stone formations
and strategically planted ancient trees, it seems as
if you were walking in a primitive forest. The architectures
that have been built in the garden are simply and classically
designed which present a Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) style.
Winding corridors throughout the garden
link the scenic spots of the garden. On the walls of
the corridor, there are 108 lattice windows of various
designs through which you can enjoy the beauty of the
pool outside and the hill in the center of the garden.
The intricate patterns of the windows are interesting,
enhance the beauty of the corridor.
Facing Water Veranda is a four-sided hall
beside the water to the west of the corridor. When you
are tired after long walk, you can sit and drink a cup
of tea while enjoying the quiet and beautiful surroundings
of the garden.
At the eastern end of the corridor, a square
pavilion sits on a stone beside the pool. It is called
Fishing Terrace which is a perfect place to sit and
watch different varieties of fish swimming in the pool.
Crossing the corridor, you can climb up
the man made rock formation along a gently winding path.
Among a sea of green trees, a square antique Canglang
Pavilion can be seen indistinctly. The beams of the
pavilion are carved with intricate patterns of fairy
children, flowers, birds, and animals. From inside the
pavilion, you can see the beauty of the entire garden.
Mingdao Hall is the main building in the
garden. There are three rooms that were once used as
a place for ancient scholars to study in the hall. Inside
the hall, there are also rubbings of three stone tablets
including the Astronomic Picture, Geographic Picture
and Pingjiang Prefecture Picture which are the priceless
treasures of Suzhou. In a setting of age old trees,
the hall looks very solemn and venerable.
Fragrance House is to the west of the Mingdao
Hall. When autumn comes, the house is filled with the
delicate fragrance of the sweet-scented osmanthus that
grows within the grounds of the garden. While sitting
in Fragrance House, it is easy to enjoy both the beauty
of the green rock formations and blue pools as well
as the faint scent of osmanthus that adds to the joy
and comfort of the scene.
Five-Hundred Famous Ancient Sages Hall is
also an important building in the garden. The stone
statues of 594 ancient sages of Suzhou are encased in
the walls of the hall and form a large art gallery.
The hall adds cultural atmosphere to the natural beauty
of the whole garden.
In the southern end of the garden, a two-storey
building called Mountain-Watching Building stands majestically
in the garden. With its flying eaves and turned up corners,
it is one of the most exquisite buildings in the garden.
From inside this building, you can see the mountains
around the garden as well as the beauty of the entire