Shanghai – downtown and Yuyuan Garden

Right in the center of Shanghai, between modern shop fronts and high rise buildings you can walk through a gate and find a beautiful garden : the Yuyuan Garden. Winding pathways lead you past little pagodas, ponds, flowering shrubs and walkways decorated with banners of golden Chinese letters. In between you can rest your weary feet on roofed benches inside shady and artfully carved wooden frames. This is one place you shouldn’t miss. It is a real oasis within a busy city.

After enjoying ourselves among the shady fronds and Chinese pointed pagodas, we decided to have some nice tea and look out over the rooftops of the city, where a cool breeze dried our damp forehead.

The Residenz garden with the Diana temple

Most people may only have seen the stone facade of the Residence on the side of the Max Joseph Platz with the adjacent buildings of the Residenztheater and the Opera, opposite the former red post office buildings and the little restaurants and boutiques on the fourth side, all surrounding the seated bronze statue of Prince Max I Joseph. Max I Joseph’s son, however, Ludwig, preferred the other side showing east to the Renaissance Court Gardens with English elements, and had his rooms furnished there.

The Diana Temple (photo supra) is said to have been erected in 1615 by Heinrich Schön the Elder. On fair days a grand piano is rolled inside and a pianist plays the lovely tunes of Chopin and Schumann to passers-by. To the southwest, the Residenz and the Herkulessaal, to the east the Theatinerkirche (Church of St. Cajetan) built by the Elector as a sign of gratitude for the birth of his heir, Prince Max Emanuel.

Around the Diana temple there are four fountains, to the north the Garden arcades with the Theater Museum, and to the south the Bayrische Staatskanzlei (Bavarian State Chancellery) which was destroyed in part during the Second World War and rebuilt in the mode of Italian High Renaissance.

The Court Gardens are a sunny and peaceful place for a stroll. In the summer dances take place, musicians play their instruments, early-birds practise yoga, people chat and eat and sit on the benches. The white roses exhale their sweet perfume and you can almost forget you are in the city.