Yu Yuan (豫園) is purportedly a garden designed to induce contentment for royalty. The unifying theme is rock. It is found throughout the garden in both (seemingly) natural formations and in intricate patterns. Plants and flowers are occasional focal points, but obviously not of primary concern.
To find the garden, one must navigate a sprawling marketplace which is filling every nook and cranny of the grand houses and courtyards of the once dynasty. Walking is the only mode of transportation in grounds, and there were large crowds there on the Monday afternoon that I ventured there. Many of the visitors and shoppers were Chinese. There was a small representation of foreigners, but all speaking languages I couldn’t identify.
As usual in Shanghai, there were official guards at the entrance, which was obscurely marked compared to the flamboyance of the merchants. There were no maps where I went in. There was also no particular flow of traffic. Fortunately, it wasn’t crowded inside the walled garden.
The architect was oddly creative with his use of doors. I tried to take a picture of each different one I saw. Signs claimed there was significance for every element of building design, which were as ornate as you would expect for this period of history. The open spaces were just big enough to give a sense of destination before the pathways beckoned in other directions, often giving more than one choice.
I finally found a large sign of a map near the end of my walk therein, but even looking at it gave me a limited idea of where I have been in the garden. I will try to give you a semblance of a tour with my photos.
Now you should feel very peaceful.