Head­ing For Yangzhou in the Misty and Flower-blown March

China's Foreign Trade (English) - - Contents - By Xu Rongzi

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.

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