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An ancient townZhouzhuang, 30km from downtown Suzhou, sits in Kunshan City extolled as No.1 water-bound town in China for it layrinth of waterways, Ming and Qing dwelling, and honest-to-goodness folkways. Zhouzhuang is an ancient city with a long history which could trace back to the Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476 BC). The painting of Zhouzhuang was chosen to be the first-day cover of the United Nations' postage stamp in 1985.

Zhouzhuang has about 100 houses with courtyards, and 60 of them have arch gateways made by carved bricks. The beauty of this water-bound-town lies in its waterside lanes and a plenty of the stone bridges. Aslo, the fairyland atmosphere of the evenings when the myriad stars twinkle as if talking with the glittering lights can also be enjoyed.

Bridges in Zhouzhuang

Bridges is a special view in Zhouzhuang. One famous one named The twin bridges or called Shuang qiao is the symbol of Zhouzhuang. It consists of Shide Bridge and Yongan Bridge. Built in Wanli era (1573 - 1619) of the Ming Dynasty, the twin bridges locates at the northeast of the town. Shide Bridge is east-west with a round arch while Yongan Bridge is north-south with a square arch. The two bridges cross the two crisscross rivers-Yinzi Creek and Nabeishi River and meet in the middle. The Twin Bridges are just like a Chinese old styled key.

Another unique bridge is Fuan Bridge. Built in 1355 during the Yuan Dynasty, it locates at the eastern end of Zhongshi Jie. Its trait is the consummate combination of the single-arch bridge and the bridge towers which are used as tearooms, restaurants and stores, and are good places to appreciate the views while taking a rest.Birds view of Zhouzhuang

Zhouzhuang has many cultural relics as well, containing the houses of Shen and Zhang, the Milou Tower, Ye Chucang's Former Residence, Chengxu Taoist Temple and Quanfu Temple. Therefore, Zhouzhuang enjoys rich cultural resources, a beautiful environment and simple local customs.

Cultural Relics in Zhouzhuang

Shen House in Zhouzhuang, built in 1742, locates at the southeast side of Fuan Bridge. It was the private property of the descendant of Shen Wansan who was the first millionaire of Jiangnan (South of Yangtze River) in the early Qing Dynasty. Totally it covers an area of more than 2,000 square meters (half an acre) and is in the Qing style. The house has 100 rooms that are seperated into three parts with each part being connected by arcades and aisles. The first part combines the water gate and the wharf where Shen's family moored boats and washed clothes. The middle part consists of the gate tower, the tearoom and the main hall. The tower is for praying a good wishes; Tea room and main hall is for serving guests. The last part contains several buildings quite different from the main hall, which are more comfortable and refined in pattern and atmosphere. Cultural relics are exhibited in Xiaotang Tower and Back Hall.

Spring in ZhouzhuangBuilt by Xu's family in the Zhengtong era (1436 - 1449) of the Ming Dynasty and bought by Zhang's family in the early Qing Dynasty, Zhang House in Zhouzhuang locates to the south of the Twin Bridges. This house has more than 70 rooms occupying about 1,800 square meters (less than half an acre). With a tranquil courtyard and pond as well as the deep halls show visitors a quondam life.


Zhouzhuang Tour

Above all are just a small part of beautiful Zhouzhuang which contains much more attractions that are pretty and felt during a tour.