2.500-year-old city is located beside Taihu Lake in southernmost
Jiangsu Province. Visitors can get to the city by a one-hour
train journey from Shanghai. The Beijing- Hangzhou Grand
Canal flows through the city. The west suburb of Suzhou
is hilly, and the east is dotted with lakes and ponds.
With a warm climate and plentiful rainfall, the fertile
farmlands here abound in agricultural products of many
numerous rivers and canals, its many small bridges over
flowing water, and its famous gardens combine to make
Suzhou one of the most scenic cities in southeast China.
Macao Polo thought it could rival his own hometown in
Italy and called it "Venice in the Orient."
gardens represent the finest landscape architecture south
of the Yangtze River. There are more than 180 elegant
classical gardens here, enabling residents to enjoy the
charm of natural scenery without leaving the city. The
planting of gardens came into fashion in the Song Dynasty;
the ten big gardens now open to tourists represent architectural
styles of the Song, Yuan, and Qing dynasties.
Hill, 3.5 kilometers northwest of Suzhou, lays claims
to being the "first scenic spot in the State of Wu"
(Suzhou was once the capital of the state). This is where
the King of Wu, He Lu (? - 496 B.C.), enjoyed himself
during his lifetime and was buried after his death. A
legend said that three days after He Lu was buried, people
saw a white tiger crouching on his tomb, and so the place
was named Tiger Hill. Barely over thirty meters high,
the small hill is extraordinary, with towering ancient
trees and a thousand-year-old pagoda. Sites include Broken
Beam Hall (Duanliangdian), Leisurely Spring (Hanhanquan),
Testing Sword Rock (Shijianshi), and Cloud Rock Temple
Pagoda (Yunyansita) (also called Huqiu Pagoda). Competed
in 961, the seven-storied octagonal pagoda is fifty-four
meters and built entirely of bricks. Its architectural
style is similar to that of the Leifeng Pagoda in Hangzhou.
Waves Pavilion (Canglangting)
near Sanyuanfang in the southern part of the city, this
pavilion stands in one of the oldest gardens of Suzhou.
The garden was built by the Northern Song Dynasty poet
Su Shunqin (1008-1048) and occupies only one hectare.
The buildings were erected around a hill, on which are
verdant trees and winding paths lines with bamboos. The
Surging Waves Pavilion stands right on the top of the
on Yuanlin Road, this garden dates from 1350; it got its
name from its lion-shaped rocks. It covers only one hectare
and its structures encircle manmade hills erected with
rocks from Taihu Lake. The hills take up half of the garden's
area; the highest is named Lion Peak (Shizifeng). Visitors
will find stones inscribed by Su Shi, Mi Fu, and Huang
Tingjian, all distinguished Song Dynasty calligraphers.
Administrator's Garden (Zhuozhengyuan)
in 1522 during the Ming Dynasty and lying adjacent to
Lion Grove, Humble Administrator's Garden is the large
garden in Suzhou, covering five hectares. The scenery
here is dominated by hills and water, with water taking
up three-fifths of the total area; all the major buildings
face the water. The garden is divided into three sections,
each having an exquisite hall at its center surrounded
by pavilions, arched bridges, manmade hills, and water
in 1525, this three-hectare garden is located outside
Changmen Gate. The garden is compactly laid out, consisting
of four sections linked by a winding corridor of over
a thousand meters.
Pavilion in Jiangsu
Grove in Jiangsu
smallest garden in Suzhou is situated at Shiquan Street
outside Fengmen Gate in southeast Suzhou. It was built
in the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) and rebuilt during
the reign of Emperor Qian Long (1736-1795) of the Qing
Dynasty. It was designed in a style which integrates the
garden with the residence. The garden is divided into
three areas. The main garden lies in the middle with a
pool at its center encircled by trees, flowers, manmade
hills, rocks, and buildings. Around the square pool and
Shoot Duck Corridor (Sheyalang), Zhouying Water Pavilion,
and stone bridges, all erected close to the water to reinforce
the feeling of the broadness of the pond. The western
area is an inner garden used by the owner for reading,
banqueting, and meeting friends. The residence lies to
the east. Visitors to this remarkable garden get the feeling
that there are "gardens inside the garden and new
scenery beyond the scenery."
Hill Temple (Hanshansi)
at Fengqiao Town five kilometers west of Suzhou, Chilly
Hill Temple, more popularly referred to as Hanshan Temple,
was built during the period from 502 to 519. It got the
name because a monk named Hanshan once served as abbot
here in the Tang Dynasty. Buildings to visit within the
temple include Grand Hall, Sutra Storage Tower (Cangjinglou),
Bell Tower (Zhonglou), Maple River Tower (Fengjianglou),
and Steles Corridor (Beilang). The temple became well
known after the Tang poet Zhang Ji wrote a famous poem
while on board that was passing by the temple, two lines
of which read: "Outside the Suzhou wall, from Hanshan
Temple's bell, I hear its sound aboard the boat and feel
its midnight spell."
Zhouzhuang, one of the most famous water townships
in China, situated in Kunshan City which is only 30 kilometers
(18 miles) southeast of Suzhou. It is noted for its profound
cultural background, the well preserved ancient residential
houses, the elegant watery views and the strong local
colored traditions and customs. In the Spring and Autumn
Period (770 - 476 BC), Zhouzhuang was a part of the fief
Yaocheng and called Zhenfengli. After being donated to
Full Fortune (Quanfu) Temple by Zhou Digong, a very devout
Buddhist, in 1086 during the Northern Song Dynasty (960
- 1127), Zhouzhuang got its present name as a memorial
of the donor.
in Kunshan city about 25 kilometers east of Suzhou, Luzhi
is an old but extremely beautiful water town. With a history
of more than 1400 years, it compares favorably to Zhouzhuang
Town. Covering just one square kilometer, it has been
awarded the great name of 'the first water town in China'.
natural beauty of the town is indescribable. Old stone
bridges, limpid water, venerable maidenhair trees and
old-style dwellings, as well as the traditional women's
costumes, create an ideal "civilized, rich, pastoral
and harmonious" environment. Many travellers from
all over the world enjoy the peace and tranquillity. In
addition, Luzhi town is noted for several historical and
cultural relics, such as Baosheng temple, the Wansheng
Rice Company and the White Lotus Flower Temple of the
North Song Dynasty.