Blue Wave Pavilion (Great Wave Pavilion)

Admission:

Oct 31 - Apr 15: RMB 15, Apr 16 - Oct 30: RMB 20

Hours:

7:30am-5pm daily

How to get there:

Bus nos. 1, 14, 28, 30, 51, 101, 102, 103, and 701,as well as Tourist Buses 2, 4 and 5 all stop at the Pavilion.

Also translated as the Great Wave Pavilion, the Blue Wave Pavilion (Cānglàng Tíng, 沧浪亭) is the oldest of the numerous UNESCO World Heritage site gardens in Suzhou.

Built in 1044 by Song Dynasty poet Su Shunqing, on the site of an earlier imperial flower garden (and taking its name from a line by another poet, Qu Yuan), the garden retains its original Song layout, and in its more ramshackle corners looks as if it has perhaps not been tended since that time.

Of the various buildings on the site, the largest is the Enlightenment Hall (Míngdào Táng, 明道堂), once used as a place of study and for the delivering of lectures during the Ming Dynasty. Another key site is the Hall of Five-Hundred Famous Ancient Sages (Wǔbǎi Míngxián Cí, 五百名贤祠), which displays statues of a variety of venerable old men. The best view, however, is from the Mountain-Watching Building (Kànshān Lóu, 看山楼), where, as the name suggests (and thanks to the absence of a northern wall), the distant hills frame the garden quite beautifully.

Mostly, though, it's a place for quiet contemplation, amid the babbling streams, the air heavy with the scent of osmanthus flowers.

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