Couple's Retreat Garden is recognized with other classical Suzhou gardens as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The original garden was built by Lu Jin, prefect of Baoning district, in 1874. It was purchased by Shen Bingcheng, the magistrate of Susong. who rebuilt it in its current form. He also changed the name to the Couple's Garden Retreat. This name refers to the garden's two parts and alludes to a couple: a cowboy and weaver girl. The garden is divided into an east and west section by the residential core in the middle; an unusual composition for a classical garden. The eccentric design is continued in the form and details of many of the garden buildings especially the Taosim Tower. The West garden is composed of several structures grouped around a small grotto and a Library annex. It is structurally joined to the central residence. East Garden is the main garden of the complex. It consists of a grotto and pond ringed by a covered walkway that connects the structures.
- ©John Lander
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