Yu Yuan Garden and Bazaar-Yu Bazaar-Shanghai-Old Town

Shanghai Old town Yu Yuan Garden and Bazaar

Shanghai-Old Town-Yu Bazaar

Shanghai Old-Town---Lao-Miao Jewellery store

Lao Miao Jewellery Store-Old Town-Yu Bazaar- Shanghai

Old town architecture –  Yu Bazaar 

From the Bund we headed to  Yu Yuan Garden and Bazaar. The buildings in the Bazaar are old style classical Chinese architecture with modern shop fronts, and very appealing. Yu Bazaar area has well-preserved and restored residences dating from Ming and Qing dynasties,very attractive with grey roof tiles,white walls and dark red trimmings. Lao Miao Jewellery store has a very welcoming presence entering the square and is a fine example of classical architecture with a modern shop front. I just love the ancient traditional Chinese roof-lines with the upturned curves. A lot of fun wandering through the stalls at the Bazaar, so much to look at. You need to haggle, prices at the Bazaar are a bit high, but bargains to be had!


Old  Town Yu Garden and Bazaar -Ming dynasty rockeries

Yu Yuan Garden  

Near the Bazaar, the Yu Garden has a magnificent bronze lion guarding the entrance gate. Yu Yuan Garden is a beautiful classical Chinese Garden with exquisite pavilions linked by a maze of Ming dynasty rockeries.  Colorful shrubbery,red maples,purple wisteria and green topiary; arched bridges and goldfish ponds; all enclosed in a wonderful undulating dragon wall. The pavilions are for viewing the garden and pond from different aspects; the brightly colored goldfish in the water, moonlight on the pond, the scent of the flowers and shrubs, listening to the rain, or just relaxing.


Yu Garden arched bridge-moon window-red maples-Old Town

Classical Chinese Gardens

The four main aspects of a Classical Chinese garden are architecture, rocks, water, trees and flowers, combined to create an idealized garden landscape enclosed by walls. Pavilions and halls in the gardens are usually named for the aspect of their use; the Hall of Distant Fragrances, Listening to The Rain Pavilion, all have very poetic names. The rockeries represent  mountain peaks and are a part of  a classical Chinese Gardens. During the Tang Dynasty rocks became a highly prized object for gardens, these were limestone rocks sculpted by erosion.In that period eroded rocks became objects of art.

I noticed quite a few of these weathered rocks in different places in Beijing. In particular, the Imperial Garden in The Forbidden City has  “Duixui”, an artificial hill made from eroded rocks,with a cave entrance and pavilion on top. The Imperial Garden also has a huge rock garden with heavily eroded limestone rocks. The use of artificial rocks to create mountains and grotto’s reached it peak during the Ming Dynasty. Yu Yuan garden created during this period and has its own ancient stone, a limestone boulder 3.3-m in height and weighing 5-ton (and I don’t remember seeing it..ooops?).


Dragon and Toad-Yu Garden and Bazaar Shanghai-Old Town

Toad and Dragon – bizarre bazaar

How bizarre , a spotted toad sitting on the wall next to the dragon’s head.  There is an ancient legend about the toad and Dragon, that says they cannot survive without one another, I’m not sure why though? An odd couple!

The Yu Garden divided into six sections, each separated from the other by “dragon walls”, undulating dark gray tiled ridges, each ending with a dragon’s head, hence the maze effect. I’m not sure we weren’t going around in circles at one stage so perhaps I missed the giant rock entirely!

Yu-Garden---huge-Rockery-with wisteria

Huge Rockery-delicate mauve flowering wisteria-Yu Garden and Bazaar Shanghai Old town

Detail Dragon's head Yu Garden and Bazaar shanghai Old Town

Detail Dragon’s head (nice set of teeth) Yu Garden and Bazaar Shanghai Old Town

Did you notice the dragons in the Yu Garden have only four claws on each paw? Why is this you ask?…well..because only Imperial dragons are allowed to have five claws. The Emperor of China used the five-clawed dragon as a symbol of his imperial power and strength. Commoners are only allowed four-clawed and three-clawed dragons.  During the Ming dynasty it was a treasonable offence, punishable by death if anyone used the five-clawed dragon symbol.

Undulating-Dragon-Wall---Yu Yuan Garden

Undulating-Dragon-Wall-Yu Yuan Garden and Bazaar Shanghai Old town

Dumpling Dinner-Yu Bazaar Old Town

Worked up an appetite by now so chose a typical Chinese restaurant  in the Shanghai Old Town in the Yu Bazaar area, decided to have dumplings for lunch, as couldn’t recognize anything else on the menu. Good choice, we enjoyed a dumpling dinner in Xian early in the tour. The dumplings freshly made at this restaurant too, and very tasty.

Perhaps tea at  Huxinting Tea House later…

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  1. Oh that’s so interesting that only imperial dragons were allowed to have five claws. Thanks for the great photos – we’ve haven’t made it to Shanghai yet, but this really makes me want to go!

  2. Beautiful…

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