Zhongshan Park, lying to the southwest of Shantou city center, is one of them. It was built in 1926 and was opened to the public two years later. It is the oldest and biggest park in Shantou. It occupies an area of 20.18 hectares; with Yujian Lake taking up nearly one third of the total area. The park is surrounded by water on all four sides forming a separated island connected to the city by three bridges-Zhongshan Bridge, Yuemei Bridge and Yingchun Bridge. Although the park is in the downtown area it provides a haven of peace and tranquility.
Entering the park through Zhongshan Bridge you are greeted with a magnificent gateway displaying traditional Chinese architecture. This gateway, supported by six pillars, each 30 meters high, was built in 1930. The Chinese characters 'Tian Xia Wei Gong', meaning the whole world as one community, were written by Sun Yat-sen, who was regarded as the father of China's Revolution. The towering red gateway and the green luxuriant trees enhance each other's beauty forming a wonderful image.
The park is divided into two parts. The eastern sector was built in the traditional natural gardening style, with five small man made islands. Eight bridges differing in size and style connect the islands together. This section is popular for viewing and resting. The western sector, on the other hand is known as the place for entertainment. It is larger in area and divided into smaller parts by roads. The park provides a perfect combination of eastern and western gardening. It is considered a classical piece of work in architectural history.
A rockery of stones and concrete, scattered with pavilions, covering an area of 1,700 square meters (0.42 acres) provides a great challenge to climbers.
Not far from the rockery is the only zoo in eastern Guangdong Province. Many valuable animals including the tiger, lion and bear are housed here. Other rare animals, such as panda, can be viewed periodically throughout the year.
Hundreds of ornamental plants and vegetation form an important part of the park. In November and December each year, a chrysanthemum exhibition open to the public is held there. The park also features a standard swimming pool, amusement park and cinema.