The Zhanyuan Garden on Zhanyuan Road by the shore of the Qinhuai River, was built in the early Ming Dynasty. Zhu Yuanzhang, or Emperor Taizu of the Ming Dynasty, mindful of the fact that his trusted general, Xu Da, hadn't had a residence to himself, built one for him along with ,in archway in front of his own Mansion of Prince of Wu. That is why during the Ming Dynasty the place was known as the mansion and garden of Xu Da, Marquis of Wei. During his inspection toursof south China Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty had stayed in this mansion and inscribed the name "Zhanyuan Garden" for it. Later the emperor gave this garden to the commissioner off Jiangning Region.
In 1853, when the Heavenly Kingdom established its capital in Nanjing, this place first became the mansion of Eastern King Yang Xiuqing and then was converted into a garden for Vice-Prime Minister Lai Hanying.
Despite damages done to it in bygone days, the Zhanyuan Garden has basically retained its original form. Artificial mountains and clear pools are arranged in good taste in this typical classical garden of Nanjing that blends architecture and landscaping into an integral whole.
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