In Zhuhai's Tangjiawan Town, there is an elegant and mysterious Lingnan-style garden—Gongle Garden (共乐园). Gongle, not google, don’t make it wrong. Gongle means sharing joy in Chinese.
Built in 1910, Gongle Garden, once called Xiaolinglong Mountain Residence (Chinese: 小玲珑山馆) was the private garden of Tang Shaoyi, a diplomat of the late Qing dynasty and served as the first premier of the Republic of China in 1913.
The garden is the combination of Chinese and Western garden styles. It has both the winding paths of Chinese classic gardens and the modern Western-style romance.
After entering the garden, you can see a stone archway with the three Chinese characters "共乐园" (pinyin: gong le yuan) engraved, which is Tang's calligraphy.
Going further inside, there is the main building of the garden. It was the residence of Tang where he received guests. Tang once received Herbert Hoover, a friend Tang made while he studied in the US and also the 31st president of the US, at this place. It was in the winter. Tang designed and built a house heated with a fireplace copied from western America. This heated house is considered a rare sight in Lingnan architecture.
In the garden, Tang built a private observatory. The ground floor used to be his library and small living room. The rooftop is very delicately designed, and visitors can use the sextant there to observe celestial bodies.
In the middle of the park, there is a tower-shaped five-layered pigeon nest. Each layer has small arch holes on four sides for pigeons to enter, which is quite Nepalese style.
Many precious trees and flowers are planted in the garden, including over 300 century-old litchi trees.
Tang, a native of Tangjiawan Town, was the third batch of young children to study in the United States in 1874 at the time of the Qing dynasty, and then got an admission from Columbia University. After returning to China, he was responsible for diplomatic negotiation with the United Kingdom, Japan, and Russia in the late Qing dynasty. After the Wuchang Uprising, he served as premier of the Republic of China.
In 1921, Tang opened this private garden to the public and changed its name to Gongle Garden, which means a place of shared joy.
For decades, the garden has never been deserted. Find a time, visit the garden and experience the "shared joy".
Opening hours: 8:00-18:00
Ticket price: 20 yuan
Add.: No. 234, Shanfang Road, Tangjiawan Town, Xiangzhou District, Zhuhai (珠海市香洲区唐家湾镇山房路234号)
Author: Ariel, Tonny (intern)
Editor: Wing, Steven, Monica, Jerry