A classical Chinese garden featuring pools, walkways, bridges and rockeries, the Yu Yuan was created in the sixteenth century by a high official in the imperial court in honour of his father. The Yu Yuan is less impressive than the gardens of nearby Suzhou, but given that it predates the relics of the International Settlement by some three hundred years, the Shanghainese are understandably proud of it. Despite fluctuating fortunes, the garden has surprisingly survived the passage of the centuries. It was spared from its greatest crisis – the Cultural Revolution – apparently because the anti-imperialist “Little Sword Society” had used it as their headquarters in 1853 during the Taiping Uprising.

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