Suzhou expands Classic Gardens Directory for better protection
2018-08-08 16:56:00

Suzhou announced the fourth batch of "Suzhou Gardens Directory" on Aug.7, bringing the total number of classic gardens listed in the directory to 108.

In 1997 and 2000, Suzhou had nine classical gardens inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list, making it the city with the most cultural heritage sites in China.

Chen Dalin, director of the Suzhou Municipal Garden and Greening Administration, said  Suzhou has far more classic gardens than those listed as UNESCO heritage and the total number reached more than 250 in the heyday. Chen also said protection of the existing gardens varies a lot and some gardens have been damaged by people or nature.

In the next three years, Suzhou will protect the gardens included in the directory according to categories and via a holistic approach, adopt three modes - “full protection, restoration, and ruins conservation” - after a full consideration of the garden’s status, history, fund and restoration technology.

Wang Huikang, owner of the Jiashutang Garden newly added to the directory, said the garden was used as a dwelling for employees of a small factory more than ten years ago and it declined badly. Later, Wang Huikang made up his mind to purchase the house after he discovered that the house beam had colorful paintings made in the late Ming and early Qing dynasties and two Chimonanthus praecox plants of more than 300 years old in the yard.

Wang said he believes that if owners of private gardens have no professional skills and financial support for protection, the historical treasures may get damaged or lost.

The Suzhou Protection and Supervision Center for Classical Gardens has recently recruited volunteers, who after training will offer customized services in terms of publicity, monitoring, management and other fields.

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