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The Canglang Pavilion

Constructed by the prominent Northern Song Poet Su Sunqin, the Canglang Pavilion is the oldest among all the existing classical gardens of Suzhou. Repaired several times in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, it features a range of man-made mountains covered with towering old trees and bamboo, and adorned with simple, plain buildings and latticed windows of great excellence inside the garden, and the broad expanse of crystalline water outside. At the top of the mountain stands the Canglang pavilion, reconstructed in the reign of Kangxi, with famous Chinese parallel couplet on the stone pillars, reading. ''The refreshing breeze and the bright moon are priceless. The near water and distant hills strike a sentimental note.'' Compared with other classical gardens of Suzhou, the Canglang Pavilion has no equal in terms of ''urban scenery''. On Nov.2000, it was inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO.

This garden, renowned for its peaceful scenery and simple architecture, is fine example showing how the natural landscape both inside and outside could be merged. Waving trees, bamboos and flowers in the garden add beauty and radiance to the rustic charm of mountain forests. The Shrine to 500 Men of Letters is main historical site in the garden, where tourists can find 594 portraits of Suzhou celebrities inscribed on stone tablets from the Spring and Autumn period to the Qing Dynasty. With a well-conceived layout, the entire garden exudes an air of classical sanctity, showing the excellent garden architectural art of the Song Dynasty.