Shuzhuang Garden is located on the south side of Gulangyu Island, Fujian Province. Built in 1931, its original use was as the privet villa of Lin Erjia, a wealthy businessman from Taiwan, who built a replica of his father’s residence in Taipei. The place opened to the public in 1955 after it was donated to become a garden.
It is purposely built between sea and hills in a clever layout that takes advantage of the natural terrain, using gardening techniques such as “hiding elements”, “borrowing from the surroundings” and “combing movements” to achieve an illusion of infinite space and surprise the visitor in every step.
Things to do
Shuzhuang Garden is divided into two main sections: The Canghai Garden (or “Hiding the Sea” Garden), which faces the sea and the Bushan Garden (or “Making-Up Hills” Garden), which faces the hills. Names of both garden sections originate from the gardening feature (mentioned above) that is used in each one. In Canghai Garden it is the “hiding elements” feature that has been used: The hidden element in this garden is funnily enough the sea! Although the garden is actually built right by the shore, the visitor has no views of the sea when heading to the garden or even entering it.
However, when exiting the bamboo forest towards an arch gate on the wall surrounding the garden one surprisingly faces the seascape out of nowhere! Bushan Garden mostly engulfs the “Borrowing from the surroundings” technique. The way it is arranged takes advantage of the natural hills and rocks around and inside the garden to highlight the interior and combines images creating amazing views for the visitor.
Each section includes 5 scenic sights. Longevity Hall, Forty-four Bridge, Autumn Pavilion, Zhaoling Pavilion and Zhenshuai Pavilion are situated in Canghai Garden. Forty-four Bridge took its name after the age of its landlord at the time it was built and is one of the best spots to enjoy the seascape. Tide Viewing Tower, Hard Stone House, Twelve Cave Paradise, Love My Own House Courtyard and Orchid Pavilion belong to Bushan Garden. Hard Stone House used to be Erjia’s study room. The Twelve Cave Paradise is a series of connected artificial caves that is now used as a children playground and may be the single place in Shuzhuang Garden where peaceful silence is out of the question!
Former Wave-Listening Pavilion is now turned into a tiny precious Piano Museum. Piano friends have a chance to admire several different types of vintage and modern pianos including a 19th century Steinway American piano, a piano used by German Royal, an Austrian Bosendorfer piano and more; don’t worry if you do not recognize any of these names, the collection is interesting even for people who can’t tell the difference between a grand and a vertical piano! The collection was a donation from Hu Youyi, a Gulangyu native who lived in Australia.