Suzhou a great Chinese tourist magnet

A major tourist destination in China is Suzhou, a city 100km west of Shanghai in the Yangtze River delta.  Suzhou is famous for its canals and waterways, with 42% of the city covered in water.  It has a history dating back 2500 years and is famous for its pagodas and ancient temples.

Towns were built on the canal system for easy irrigation and transportation and, known as Water towns, have not changed in the last few hundred years. Zhouzhuang, near Suzhou, is one of the most popular water towns to visit with its 14 classic stone bridges crossing its rivers. Lakes and rivers divide and surround this town.

Tongli and Mudu are also worth a visit. Both these water towns are very old with beautiful gardens to enjoy. The houses in these water towns are no more than three stories in height and all the streets are divided by canals.  Boat rides are available in the water towns.

Pan Gate is an attraction not to be overlooked.  Built in 514BC, this historical landmark was one of the eight gates of the ancient city wall that protected Suzhou during the wars. The gate has been rebuilt on two different occasions, once during the Yuan Dynasty and then in 1986.

Suzhou, east of Jiangsu province, is famous for its pagodas, stone bridges and exquisite gardens. In recognition of the beautiful and traditional gardens of Suzhou, they were listed as UNESCO world heritage sites in 1997. The largest and one of four most classical garden of Suzhou’s gardens is Zhuozheng Yuan, also called the Humble Administrator Garden.

This was first built in 1509 as a private garden taking 15 years to complete. The 52,000 square metre gardens are divided into central, western and eastern sections with each section having its own style with a pond making up to 60% of the actual garden.