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 in a letter 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 tree-lined footpath, dense grove, flying songbirds, and Chairman Mao"s favourite pines, bamboo trees and plums seen everywhere can undoubtedly, make one reluctant to leave.
Meiling was Mao"s summer villa where he lived for a long time and often visited many times besides Zhongnanhai. He came here once a year up to three times a year, at the most, and stayed for one month to 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 here the famous poem Swim that won universal praises. 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, with its questionable 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 rather faded and frayed now. The chair and lamps are still in the same semi-circular position as they were 27 years ago.The bedroom was furnished with plain fifties furniture with a pink and white patterned chaise. Next to the large-sized bed hangs his blue and white striped king size bathrobe. There still remain the slippers of him and his wife, Jiang Qing.
Meiling Building Two, the assembly hall, has a huge lobby cloaked in heavily worn curtains. The hall with its hundreds of red upholstered chairs facing the stage 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-meter 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 travellers, both local tourists and foreigners. It is now a very hot tourist spot where many could recall Chairman Mao"s experiences of his late years and get glimpses of the great leader"s historical and colourful life.