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One of the gardens commonly included in many Hangzhou garden tours is the Guo zhang Garden. The Guo Zhang Garden is one of the most beautiful and the most well-preserved private residences featuring traditional Chinese architecture found in Hangzhou. The garden was built a long time ago in the latter part of the Qing Dynasty.
The Guo Zhang Garden, also known as the Coronal of the West Lake Classical Garden, is commonly considered as the ‘number one garden of the West Lake’. The entire area consists of Guo’s traditional style villa, a garden, a mountain towards the back, and a west lake in the front. The well-preserved buildings and the beautiful landscaping all create a scene seemingly taken out of a painting.
The Guo Zhang Garden was privately built by a silk merchant who lived in the Song Dynasty. It covers a total area of almost 10,000 square meters.
Things to do
For those who are interested in Chinese architecture and for nature lovers, the Guo Zhang Garden holds equal appeal. The garden is marked with pagodas and structures with the unmistakable eaves on the roof that characterize Chinese architecture. The sight is just wonderful and is a great place for taking photographs of your Hangzhou trip.
There are two other notable things about the Guo Zhang Garden. First, the garden’s key spirit is water, so you will find it clearly highlighted in the layout of the garden. Second, the garden is designed with the elements of yin and yang incorporated into it. This can be seen in the clever way that the garden juxtaposes shade and light, the curved and the straight. The Guo Zhang Garden is therefore considered as the most ideal embodiment of Chinese Taoism.
The charming and elegant villa also affords nice views of the Su Causeway, which it faces to its east. The Baoshu Hill can also be seen from there. Just outside the villa is the garden itself, which is divided into two different sections. The first section is called Living in Quietness; this is where the owner of the property lived. The second section is called the Sky in the Mirror Garden; this garden features a quaint little pond surrounded by roofed corridors, little bridges, rock formations, plenty of trees, and lush flowers.
The private garden was only opened to the public in 1991, despite the fact that it was built in 1851. So although the garden is privately owned, visitors are now allowed to admire its surroundings and to take in its fascinating scenery. The garden is also often incorporated into most Hangzhou day tours. While there, make sure to try some of their tea, which costs CNY40 on the villa’s lakeside pavilion.
Although sometimes overlooked by tourists, the visitors who go out of their way to visit the Guozhang Garden always have great things to say about it. It is often described as ‘beautiful’, and many visitors like that it is not confined, creating a fresh and free atmosphere. It is also more peaceful than other gardens in the area since it is less accessible. While the crowds tend to stick to the gardens in Hubin and Beishan Roads, the Guo Zhang Garden attracts only a selected few. The garden is also just a hundred meters to the south of the Botanical Gardens, so if you want to admire the beauty of nature in one afternoon, you can schedule consecutive visits to the two gardens.