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The Lingering Garden

In the 21th year of the reign of Wanli (1593 A.D.), Xu Taishi (1540 A.D.-1598 A.D.) carrying the ministerial title of Tai Pu Si Shao Qing, built his garden-house called the East Garden. According to what the famous literary man Yuan Hongdao (1568 A.D. - 1610 A.D.) said in his A Record of Gardens, "The East Garden has magnificent multi-storeyed front houses and rear halls, and a range of awe-inspiring stone mountains built by the well-known master Zhou Bingzhong, resembling a long scroll of landscape painting."
    The garden belonged to the Lius in the 59th year of the reign of Qianlong (1794 A.D.). It was expanded, repaired, and renamed "the Hanbi Villa": in the 3rd year of the reign of Jiaqing (1798 A.D.). As it was located in Huabu Alley, the garden got another name "A Little Structure of Huabu". Popularly it was known as "the Liu Garden". In teh 12th year of the reign of Tongzhi (1873 A.D.), it was purchased, expanded and repaired by the Shengs, who gave it a new name "the Lingering Garden", meaning "lingering between Heaven and Earth forever". Also "lingering" in Chinese sounds similar to "Liu", the surname of the former owner. In the 2nd year of the reign of Guangxu (1876 A.D.), the famous Confucian scholar Yu Yue wrote "A Record of the Lingering Garden", enthusiastically saying, "With the splendor of the stones and springs, the sequential beauty of the flowers and trees, and the complexity of the elegant buildings, the Lingering Garden certainly ranks first among all famous gardens of Suzhou." From the 14th year to the 17th year of the reign of Guangxu (1888 A.D. - 1891 A.D.), the garden was extended to the east, west, and north. A large amount of money is spent on the garden for repairs after the founding of the People's Republic of China. In 1954 it started to open to the public.Starting from 1997, it has been put on the World Heritage List.