The Old City
Located to the south of the Bund, the old
Chinese city was a walled fishing town when
the British arrived in 1843. Modern Shanghai
grew up around it. It used to be a maze of
tiny alleys, but the streets have been widened
in recent years and are crowded with tourists.
At the center of the Old City are the Chenghuang
Temple and the Yu Garden, in which stands
the Huxining Teahouse, said to be the model
for the design on the willow-pattern plates
much loved by Europeans in another era. The
Bridge of Nine Turns zigzags to make it difficult
for evil spirits to get across (since, as
is well known, evil spirits have problems
The Yuyuan Garden
The Yuyuan Garden is a classical Suzhou Chinese
garden, covering 5 acres, with over 30 pavilions
linked by a maze of corridors and bridges
over ponds. It is home to the 600 year old
The garden is divided into six areas:
- Grand Rockery made of huangshi stone (12 m high),
featuring peaks, cliffs, winding caves and
gorges. This scenery was possibly created
by Zhang Nanyang in the Ming Dynasty.
- Heralding Spring Hall (Dianchun) - built
in 1820, the first year of the Emperor Daoguang’s
- Inner Garden - rockeries, ponds, pavilions,
and towers, first laid out in 1709 and more
recently recreated in 1956 by combining its
east and west gardens.
- Jade Magnificence Hall (Yuhua) - furnished
with rosewood pieces from the Ming Dynasty.
- Lotus Pool - with a zigzag bridge and mid-lake
- Ten Thousand-Flower Tower (Wanhua)
Tea Tasting in the old Teahouse
In the centre of YuYuan Gardens is the old
teahouse. We stopped to partake in some tasting
of the teas, each with different properties
to aid longevity of life. Teas included Gan
piece, golden lotus, ganodermalucidum, tobacco
mosaic, sweet tea, liu liu, dai dai, huangxian,
hei yu, huang luo and jasmine. Many of the
premium teas are from Tibet.
The Streets around the Old City
Close to the gardens is Shanghai's bazaar,
a great number of small streets and lanes
where vendors sell their products and food
stuffs to the tourists and local people.