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The Lion Forest Garden

Adjacent to the Humble Administrator's Garden, the Lion Forest Garden is the only garden having survived from the end of the Yuan dynasty to the present day. The idea came form Buddhism. The well-known Yuan artist Ni Zan (Yunlin) painted a scroll of the Lion Forest Garden. Emperors Kangxi and Qianlong visited it several times and made replicas of the garden at Yuan Ming garden and the Imperial Mountain Resort respectively. Compactly yet harmoniously spaced, the Lion Forest Garden, also called the Kingdom of Rockeries, is noted for its labyrinthine man-made limestone mountains with winding pathways and caverns as well as pavilion, terraces and towers. A long roofed walkway going round the garden leads to places of quietude. In 2000, it was inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESO. In 2003, it was listed as the National Tourist Attraction of Grade AAAA.

All lion forest is like a large labyrinth, being the most devious and complicated of all the rockeries in classical Chinese garden. Nine-Lion Peak is a huge peak with many holes, like nine lovely lions standing side by side. The man-made mountains of the lion forest garden are not very high but awe-inspiring, possessing numerous winding caverns. Large areas of water are not deep but immense, curving round the mountains. The waterfalls are concealed by trees and flowers. Rare species of old trees are impressive. The pavilions, halls and towers are celebrated for their exquisite workmanship. No wonder it is regarded as one of the four most famous gardens of Suzhou.