Turtle Garden
    2009-12-26 13:17:53     CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Zhang
 

If you are visiting southern China's bustling Xiamen city and want to refresh your brain with a sprinkling of history and some sea air, you can do far worse than head towards The Turtle Garden at the southeast tip of Jimei, northwest of the Xunjiang River. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com/Dominic Swire]

By Dominic Swire

If you are visiting southern China's bustling Xiamen city and want to refresh your brain with a sprinkling of history and some sea air, you can do far worse than head towards The Turtle Garden at the southeast tip of Jimei, northwest of the Xunjiang River.

No, this is not a garden full of turtles. Rather, it is a memorial site built to commemorate the revolutionary martyrs that laid down their lives to liberate Jimei. The garden covers an area of 9,000 square metres and consists of a large concrete area overlooking the sea, an impressively tall monument tower, and the mausoleum of Mr Tan Kah Kee (also known as Chen Jiageng), the respected overseas Chinese businessman that initiated the project in 1951.

The name of the garden comes from the fact that the islet the site is built on is said to look like a turtle. Seen from above, the planned layout also resembles a Chinese character Tu, which means picture or plan.

The site is not only worth going to for its location, which is within earshot of breaking waves, and beautifully proportioned design but its walls are peppered with historical records, moralizing advice and encyclopedic knowledge. The long roofed corridor, which forms the main entrance displays dozens of important scenes from Chinese history. This walkway opens out to the main paved area which is surrounded by low walls all covered in fascinating information such as definitions and pictures of various fruits and vegetables and depictions of historic events. Beside the monument is a wall that is covered in relief carvings of practical education for children, such as the importance of washing oneself, how to clean a room properly, and even not to spit on the floor.

The Turtle Garden is both amusing and educational - which was exactly the concept Tan Kah Kee had in mind all those years ago when he came up with the idea of building the site.

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