Heading For Yangzhou in the Misty and Flower-blown March
It is said to be pleasant to “head for Yangzhou in the misty and flowerblown March”. Now it is the best time of the year to visit Yangzhou, where the guelder roses are blossoming.
Located in the central part of Jiangsu Province, Yangzhou is flanked by both the Yangtze River and BeijingHangzhou Canal. Since ancient times Yangzhou has been a city with beautiful scenery, rich cultural heritage and abundant resources. The name of Yangzhou was first seen in “the Book of Shangshu, Yugong”, and its original meaning is “land territory with a lot of water and waves”, so it is named as “Yang”. The city of Yangzhou was first built up during the Spring and Autumn period, which was 2,400 B.C. Its long history and splendid culture have left Yangzhou city a large number of historical relics, scenic spots and rich tourism resources. An unplanned travel in the best time of the year is
like a beautiful dream. I prefer walking in Yangzhou city during the summer time, without making any plans. The traffic from Beijing to Yangzhou is very convenient. I took the night train with the sleeping ticket and arrived in Yangzhou in the next morning, having time for the morning tea.
Oriented beauty along the Slender West Lake
The spring teahouse is built at the foot of the hill and you may listen to the local music under the small pavilion and building, while enjoying the beauty of the river and bamboo. The morning breakfast always include crab soup dumplings with juicy meat soup and thin wrapper, a small plate of braised, and shredded chicken with ham and dried tofu. The spring tea house is small but has a history of more than 200 years. It was formerly called “Fragrant Shadow Gallery” and “Qingsheng
Tea House”. According to “Yangzhou Pleasure Boat Record” written by Li Dou, “the wine shops in the city suburb stretch from the Zuibai Park. In the Era of Kangxi, the wine shops like Ruye Park, Yechun Teahouse, Seven Saint House and Qietingche are located in the Red Bridge area”. The famous writer Zhu Ziqing wrote in the article “the Summer of Yangzhou”, “the area of North Gate is also called Down Street, where a cluster of tea houses are situated. Most of the tea houses face the river and guests could send greetings to and talk with passengers in the passing boat. Happy passengers may order a pot of tea and several dishes of snacks to eat and chat in the river. The teapot and snack containers were returned to the teahouse after it is finished.” The teahouse referred to in the article is Yechun Teahouse. After breakfast, you may go to the Slender West Lake.
Slender West Lake is not a natural lake, but moat relics of Luo City of Tang Dynasty and Big City of Song Dynasty. Many wealthy merchants in the salt industry of Ming and Qing Dynasties spent big money hiring famous garden designers to build up a water garden. During the emperor of Qianlong, Qing Dynasty, the Slender West Lake was choked with silt. Local salt merchants financed the dredging project, as they thought the Slender West Lake is as good as the West Lake in Hangzhou. A scholar named the lake as “Slender West Lake” as comparison.
Walk into the Slender Lake, the first scenic spot is 24 Bridge Area. Actually there were no 24 bridges there, but an arch bridge with 24 meter long and 2.4m wide. The bridge features 24 steps on both sides, surrounded by 24 white marble railings and 24 side boards. The allusion is from the poem written by Du Mu of Tang Dynasty: “the twenty-four bridges are lit by the shining moon, where the beauties teach playing flute.”
Visitor may also see a moon gate, with inscription of “Xu Yuan”. Walk into the gate, you will find a pool of clear water, where lotus flowers are blossoming. Surrounded by rocks with various shapes, the pool also features several willows with beautiful sceneries. The formal hall of the park is called “the Hall of Listening to the Bird-singing”, which is a delicate architecture with antique style in arrangements. There is a red wood protection wall in its front side, with different varieties of screens. Each screen features five Chinese landscape paintings drawn on porcelain, and covered with glass. The design is very beautiful. Xu Yuan is a Chinese traditional garden built in the Qing Dynasty and its existence enables the park of Slender West Lake to have a park within. Xu Yuan is small in size, but delicate in structure. The architectural design is in perfect order,
with the hall, the pavilion, the water pool, the flowers, bamboos and rocks in perfect arraignment, showing the delicacies of South China’s traditional parks.
Walk through the Xuyuan and you will reach the side of the lake. The view becomes broadened and the Five-pavilion Bridge lies on the green water, like a shy and sleeping beauty. The bridge features five pavilions with the style of South China. Each pavilion has a dome at the top and ceiling within. It also features wind bells that exude natural harmonies. The architecture to the east of the bridge, which is surrounded by water, is called Fuzhuang, named after the wild duck swimming in the water.
Walk across the bridge and you will find a small island with distinct characteristics in shape and location. The island is called Tiny Golden Mountain and originally named as Changchun Hill. It was first built in the middle of Qing Dynasty, when local wealthy merchants of Yangzhou financed the digging of a new river to link the Slender West Lake with Daming Temple. The silt and soil piled up into a hill, which is today’s Tiny Golden Mountain. The mountain is surround by water and the water and mountain are in perfect harmony. On top of the hill there is a “Wind Pavilion”, the highest spot in the park.
To the west of the Tiny Golden Mountain, there is a dike leading to the lake. At the end of the dike there is a rectangular pavilion, named as “Chui Terrace”, the first letter of the four playing techniques of music instruments. It is said that the Emperor of Qianlong once fished in the lake, the pavilion is also called “Diaoyu Island”. The pavilion faces the water with three sides, and each side features a round door and a hole. Look towards the right front at the pavilion, you will see the “Five-pavilion Bridge” through the central hole, the “White Pagoda” through the left hole. It is like the two individual paintings and the technique of borrowing scenery
is have awards.at visitorsPeony.really “ExquisiteWalkonce enticing.“may Yangzhou’sreceived forward enjoy Flower Photos internationaland the Circle”,with Peonyyou Guanglingwillthe goldenis where themearrivethe bestthe the ExquisiteSlenderof the West world”. Flower Lake Every Circle would spring, within have blossomingpeony. The scenic flowers, area especiallystretches from the Fahai Temple River in the east to the “Sing Moon Teahouse” in the west. Many years ago there was a wide pool, in which grow the white lotus. Various types of flowers could also be seen in the pool, and that is why the area is called “Exquisite Flower Circle”.
Walk outside the Slender West Lake, you will see the Daming Temple. The high temple wall and pagoda exude a sense of solemnity.
The charm of Yangzhou’s gardens
Suzhou is famous for gardens and the Yangzhou’s gardens are as good as those of Suzhou. Ge Garden, one of China’s top four gardens, was originally built by Huang Zhijun, head of Huai River Salt Commerce Association at the 23rd year of the Emperor of Jiaqing, Qing Dynasty.
Huang was fond of bamboo and as the shape of bamboo leaves resembles the Chinese letter “Ge”, he named the garden as Ge Garden. The garden is famous for its stone stack art. Bamboo shoot-shaped stone, Tai Lake stone, Yellow- color stone and Yi stone are piled into rock hills that feature four seasons. The gardening technique is in perfect combination with the art of Chinese traditional painting. Ge Garden is praised by famous garden designer Chen Congzhou as “the unique of Chinese traditional garden”. Visitors could first walk into the rock hills, as the winding path between the rocks always leads to a secluded and quite place.
There is a line of red letters: “First Garden is Late Qing Period”, which signals the famous He Garden.
Yangzhou is always for its eating. Fuchun Teahouse is one of the most traditional and although it looks like a large food stall and the price is cheap, the teahouse is situated in the ancient courtyard and on the old street, and its environment is antique and solemn. Here you may share the table with other customers, to enjoy the delicious dishes including steamed dumpling stuffed with diced meat, multiple-layer oil cake, steamed vegetable dumplings, steamed stuffed bun, Yangzhou fried rice, raised shredded chicken with ham and dried tofu, Yangzhou stewed meatball, fried shrimp, steamed dumplings and kuilongzhu tea.
After dinner, it will be wonderful to travel the Yangzhou canal in the evening and have a nice sleep later. “The March of Yangzhou is like an unbreakable willow and the South China in the dream is like the inexhaustible wine. When the lonely sail disappears in the boundless azure sky, you will miss the beauty of the Slender West Lake”.
The March of Yangzhou is like an unbreakable willow and the South China in the dream is like the inexhaustible wine.