Zhouzhuang Town area of Suzhou City (Wu river)

Boats on a canal in Suzhou

Boats on a canal in Suzhou by Jakob Montrasio. Sourced via Flickr under Creative Commons Attribution License.

An ancient water town near to Suzhou city in Jiangsu province, China.

The Hall of Shen’s Residence. Built in 1742 and located at the southeast side of Fu’an Bridge, Shen’s house was the private property of the descendant of Shen Wansan, who was the first millionaire of the south of Yantze River in the early Qing Dynasty. His property was envied by the king and he personally funded to repair one-third of the Nanjing Ming city wall. He has many industries in various places, but he always made Zhouzhuang as his foundation. The whole building is Qing-style. Shen’s house occupies an area of more than 2,000 square meters (half an acre) and over 100 rooms. It consists of three parts. The first part is the wall of the water gate and pier, which is used by Shen's family moored boats and washed clothes. The middle part includes the gate tower, the tearoom and the main hall. Tea room and main hall are places for serving guests, and handling weddings, funerals and other events. The furnishings in here are all very elegant. The main hall called “Songmao hall” covers an area of 170 square meters and up to 6 meters. It carved very vivid figures, beast, and pavilions. The last section is the two-storied dwelling which consists of several buildings which are quite different from the main hall, more comfortable and refined in pattern and atmosphere.

The Zhang’s Hall of Residence. It located to the south of the Double Bridge. Zhang’s house formerly known as “Yishun Hall” which was built by the descendants of XuKui in the Zhengtong era (1436 - 1449) of the Ming Dynasty. It bought by Zhang's family in the early Qing Dynasty. Zhang House has more than 70 rooms and takes up about 1,800 square meters. Yuyan Hall is the main hall, which is bright, simple, quaint and elegant. Thick west columns of the hall stood upright on a pier at the Phoebe drums, solid as stone, was indeed the legacy of the Ming Dynasty house. There is a river flowing through Zhang’s house that makes Zhang’s house graceful and dapper. The back hall was designed a row of special windows, and through the window and we can enjoy the backyard flowers and trees.

The Double Bridge. Double Bridge, commonly known as the key bridge, which composed with Shide Bridge and Yongan Bridge. It is the symbol of Zhouzhuang. The reason why it called Double Bridge is the Shide Bridge is east-west and has a round arch, and Yongan Bridge is north-south and the bridge arch is square. It looks like the key that used in the ancient times. These two stone bridge, built in the Ming Wanli before AD 1573 - 1619,Shide Bridge was funded by XuSong quan and XuZhu xi, and Yongan Bridge was funded by XuZheng wu. The two bridges were rebuilt in the Qing Dynasty. Double Bridge is the best place to expresses the ancient water town’s charm: clear water, green trees and small boat cross through the bridge aperture. It attracts teachers and students of art from different parts of county to paint in the four seasons, and photography lovers take camera and select the best shooting angle.

Fu’an Bridge. It located at the eastern end of Zhongshi Street. It was the ancient perfect unique architecture as combination of the single-arch bridge. It was built in 1355 during the Yuan Dynasty and was rebuilt by Wanshan Shen’s younger brother, Wansi Shen. He renamed the bridge as Fu’an, which expected the local people not only rich but secure. The four sides of the bridge floor are well-preserved. The bridge towers have tearooms, restaurants and stores, and are good places to appreciate the views while taking a rest. Chengxu Taoist Temple. Chengxu Taoist Temple, also known as “Sanctity Hall”, which has more than 900years old and was built during1086 - 1093 of the Song Dynasty. It stood on Zhongshi Street that is opposite to Puqing Bridge. Since the mid-Ming Dynasty, it has increasingly grand scale. After several periods of expansion, it covered an area of 1,500 square meters (1,800 square yards) in mid-Qing Dynasty. It became one of the famous temples in Wuzhong Region. The main building (hall) in Chengxu Taoist Temple is YUhuang pavilions, Wenchang pavilions and Shengdi pavilions. Wenchang pavilions is the main pavilion which was built Song Dynasty.

QuanfuTemple. It was a set of ornamental and practical antique-shaped water tower which was built in 1987. The temple has 5 layers and 33 meters high. There is stairs up to the tower roof. Visitors can see the whole landscape of Zhouzhuang. It is a landmark in Zhouzhuang.

South lake. It is located in the south of Zhouzhuang, commonly known as “Nanbai swing”. Only one third of lake is Zhouzhuang; the rest are Wujiang City. The lake is surrounded by trees and bamboos and attracts lots of visitors. According to South Lake’s natural beauty and historical relics, local people built South Lake Garden. The whole garden is divided four beauty spot as the unique scenery in spring, suumer, autumn and winter. It covers an area of 3.6 hectares, and construction area of 6300 square meters. The beauty spot in spring and summer is for the landscape garden. Wanghu building, Jiuqu Bridge, LIngbo marble boat were built around with lotus pond. Autumn beauty spot is a set of Halls, temples, pavilions, corridors, rockeries in a park. The beauty spot in winter is mainly about Quanfu Temple.

Map showing location of Zhouzhuang Town area of Suzhou City (Wu river)

Above: Location of Zhouzhuang Town area of Suzhou City (Wu river) in Suzhou, Jiangsu, China