Shanghai’s Yuyuan Garden gets younger look

An artist playing classical Chinese musical instrument on a boat in Yuyuan Garden on July 4. Photo by Yang Jianzheng/People’s Daily Online


By Cao Lingjuan, People’s Daily Online

Yuyuan Garden, a cultural landmark of East China’s Shanghai, which has more than 400 years of history, has got a completely different look and become increasingly popular among the young people.

In Yuyuan Garden, a large green lawn injects new vitality into the ancient architectural complex, while young artists’ abstract painting vividly depicting mythical creature attracts huge attention from tourists.

Since July 3, Yuyuan Garden has upgraded its night fair, providing an immersive experience of food and leisure activities featuring Chinese traditional style and culture. Integrating the long history with the modern characteristics of the garden, it is now a must-see location that combines cultural and leisure activities.

The three major areas of the garden, which have blocks, squares, and alleys in China’s Ming and Qing (both ancient dynasties of China) styles, as well as the space above these areas, have been given a distinctive new theme.

Yuyuan Garden’s central square is now where people enjoy delicious food, and its ancient-style theatre is also staging modern music today.

The Zigzag Bridge square of the garden, also called “ferry market”, is now impressing tourists with the cultural characteristics of southern China through the special eaves of the Mid-lake pavilion.

The massive lanterns decorating Yuyuan Garden’s Ninghui road, which have been included on China’s intangible cultural heritage list, create a dream-like gorgeous view at night. The beautiful colored lanterns featuring red carp and oiled paper umbrella have made the place a must-visit spot of the garden in the nighttime.

The garden names its theme block Shi Wan Jiaochang, which literally means a drill ground for food and leisure activities. The name was derived from the name of Jiujiaochang road, a road near Yuyuan Garden which used to be an area for military drills in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), according to an executive of Yuyuan Garden’s shopping mall.

Because of the temple fair, streets and markets gradually took shape in the area where Yuyuan Garden was located during the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912), the executive introduced, explaining that the name Shi Wan Jiaochang not only shows respect towards the history of the place, but also conforms to the current trend towards increasing popularity of products and services incorporating traditional Chinese culture and style.

While carrying forward the essence of traditional culture, Yuyuan Garden’s Shi Wan Jiaochang is also full of innovations, with open-air bars and immersive performances in ancient-style architectural complex.

With a bar counter made up of green mailboxes, a newly built beer house matches the green lawn of the central square so well. Many young people have been attracted to the place, sitting on bar stools around the special bar counter to enjoy their leisure time.

“It’s been a long time since I visited Yuyuan Garden last time,” said a local resident surnamed Chen, who sat by the mailboxes with two of her colleagues, drinking beer.

Visiting Yuyuan Garden after work, Chen found that the place was totally different from how it was before.

“It was more of a scenic spot in the past, and today it turns into an immersive block where you can sit down and relax,” Chen told the People’s Daily.

While adhering to its cultural advantages, Yuyuan Garden has made continuous efforts to keep up with the trend of consumption upgrading, actively exploring ways of transformation, and seeking development through innovation.

According to the garden, it will focus its efforts on developing products and services featuring traditional Chinese culture and style, offering visitors with immersive and interactive experiences.

The shopping mall in Yuyuan Garden will provide various splendid shows for local residents and tourists on the evening on weekdays and the afternoon and evening on weekends.

Jazz music, hip-hop dance, electronic music, and close up magic will also be staged soon, the garden disclosed.

In addition, the upgraded night fair of Yuyuan Garden will also join hands with the BFC Weekend Market, a time-limited market at the Bund, Huangpu district of Shanghai, to hold night running activities.

The runners and the beautiful lights and decorations will create an energetic and wonderful luminous ribbon in the city.

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