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Chairman Mao Zedong's Villa

The famous villa of Chairman Mao Zedong in Wuhan is strategically located at the scenic bank of East Lake of Wuchang which consists of Meiling Buildings One, Two and Three. It was once a retreat house for Chairman Mao and other privileged ruling members of the Politburo. During the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Mao nicknamed it 'Home of the White Clouds and Yellow Cranes' where he enjoyed the quiet ambiance and great relief it offered. The attractive scenery of the tree-lined footpath, dense grove, flying songbirds, and Chairman Mao's favorite pines, bamboo trees and plums seen everywhere can make one reluctant to leave.

Meiling was Mao's summer villa where he lived for a long time and often visited many times aside from Zhongnanhai. He came here up to three times a year at the most and would stay for as long as six months.

Meiling Building One is the most interesting structure since it was Chairman Mao's private residence where he ate, slept, wrote and conducted numerous daily national affairs. He gave audience to many celebrities and foreign friends, including President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger of the United States of America in 1972. Moreover, he wrote the famous poem Swim that won universal praises in the building. It has a bedroom, a sitting room, a reception room and a formal dining room. As the picture shows, the dining room is accentuated by a restful scenic painting of trees with dark gray foliage, soft rose colored flowers and a gentle orange sun, a mix of plum carpeting, red tablecloth and emerald green crushed velvet armchairs.

The same grey covered chair where the great leader sat is still there, but is faded and frayed today. The chair and lamps are still in the same semi-circular position as they were 27 years ago. The bedroom was furnished with plain 50s furniture with a pink and white patterned chaise. Next to the large-sized bed hangs his blue and white striped king-size bathrobe. He and his wife’s slippers still remain.

Meiling Building Two, the assembly hall, has a huge lobby cloaked in heavily worn curtains. The hall contains hundreds of red upholstered chairs facing the stage and is cordoned off while the lobby is open to the public. On the balcony, there is a wicker chair placed in a certain position as was placed in the past with a framed photograph hanging next to it. Visitors are permitted to sit on the chair and take photos of themselves as souvenirs.

Meiling Building Three houses Mao's private indoor swimming pool. It is about 30 meters long and six lanes wide; the same as most competition-sized pools. It is lined with tiles with stainless steel ladders and underwater lights. There are nine floor-to-ceiling tinted windows which Mao could see through during his daily swims.

Meiling was open to the public in the early 1993 and has received numerous travelers, both local tourists and foreigners. It is now a very hot tourist spot where many can recall Chairman Mao's experiences in his late years and get a glimpse of the leader's historical and colorful life.

Source: TravelChinaGuide.com

Editor: Xu Xinlei


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