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Carefree travel in Suzhou

Nowadays a lot of people call Suzhou's city center full imprints of 2500 years history "Old Suzhou"; they call the western new part which is bustling with modernization "New Suzhou"; the eastern new part which reflects Singapore and which is the birthplace of modern industry is called "Foreign Suzhou" and the area all around Lake Tai where 'boats open the vast lake and tiny islands emerge everywhere' is called "Scenic Suzhou". When you interpret "Old Suzhou", "New Suzhou", "Foreign Suzhou" and "Scenic Suzhou" from a cultural, modern and natural point of view, you find a mixture of old and new; Chinese and Western where individual charms are endlessly intertwined.

Cultural Suzhou

Suzhou has innumerable cultural elements. For example the touching, beautiful Kunqu Opera. A performance of Kunqu Opera has an elegant melody, soft and unrestrained in the distance. In May 2001 UNESCO gave it the title of "Oral and intangible world heritage". Other examples of historical cultural heritage are Suzhou embroidery and Pingtan story telling and ballad singing.

Poetic Jiangnan, how are you going to leave the bridges, flowing waters, the people? Whether it is the Suzhou classical gardens with their far-reaching intentions in creative concepts of craftsmen that make you gasp in admiration, or the small towns which make your body and mind free to return to your true self, all will let you experience the sophistication and elegance of Suzhou. One of the important features of the classical gardens of Suzhou is that they are not only a product of historical culture, but also the carrier of Chinese traditional ideology.

Suzhou always had the tradition to esteem teaching and literacy highly. It is the hometown of famous top scorers in the imperial palace examination. With 50 scholars who obtained the highest rank of the imperial examination system Suzhou has the most of whole China. From 1500 successful candidates, 10 mansions still exist. The virtuous people in the Wu area are too numerous to mention individually. The "Surging Waves Pavillion" has a temple with the names of 500 virtuous persons of which the most famous are: Wu Zixu, statesman in the Spring and Autumn Period; military expert Sun Wu; Xiang Yu the Conqueror, Chu warlord; beautiful empress of the Han dynasty Zhao Feiyan; Lu Guimeng, Tang dynasty poet; Song dynasty statesman/writer Fan Zhongyan and writer Fan Chengda; Ming dynasty painters Shen Zhou, Tang Bohu, Wen Zhengming and Qiu Ying, statesman Kuang Zhong, writer feng Menglong; Kuai Xiang, architect of the Ming Dynasty Forbidden City; late Ming-early Qing thinker Gu Yanwu, garden designer Ji Cheng, Ge Yuliang, expert in stone layers; Qing emperor Wen Tonghe, diplomat Hong Jun; Early Modern Period politician Liu Yazi, masters of the classics Zhang Taiyan, historian Gu Xiegang, writer and editor Ye Shengtao, embroidery master Shen Shou; Modern Times writer Su Tong; et al.

Suzhou is the birthplace of the Wu culture. Tradition has it that in the final years of the prehistoric Shang dynasty Zhoujun Gugong had three sons: the eldest Tai Bo, the second Zhong Yong and the youngest Ji Li. Ji Li had a son named Chang. Gugong believed Chang had the ability to become king and he wanted to pass the royal title on to Ji Li and to Chang. When Tai Bo and Zhong Yong found out about this intention, they avoided the royal title and emigrated to, at that time Jing barbarian, Jiangnan to honor their father's desire. They even followed the local customs and voluntary 'cut their hair and put tattoos' to express they became one of the Jing barbarians. And so they could not return to succeed to the throne. Their righteous deeds together with the Zhou culture and the advanced farming techniques they brought gave them the support of the inhabitants. Tai Bo was established as leader at Meili and he named his dynasty "Wu".

Tai Bo had 19 successors until Shou Meng succeeded to the throne in 585BC, since then Wu state has an exact dating. In the wake of the rise of Wu state, the capital city Meili could not keep up with the needs of the developing state while there was also Suzhou at the northeast shore of Lake Tai. Thanks to superior natural conditions, convenient transport, fertile soil, plentiful products and numerous population, Shou Meng officially moved the capital city to Suzhou in 561BC. Many years of business went by and it became a considerable scope. But because historical records did not record it, that townsite is not researchable. Henceforth Suzhou of that time is called Wu state.

In 514BC king He Lu of Wu ordered Wu Zixu to build a city with a double chessboard pattern of water and land. Since then Suzhou got its present geographical location. In 522BC Qin Shihuang set up an inspection at the capital city of Wu for the region. Since then Suzhou was called Wu county or sometimes Wu state. In 589AD the Sui dynasty changed the name of Wu county into Suzhou. (West of the city walls there was a mountain called Su mountain where Suzhou got its name from)

Gardens: the Humble Administrator's Garden、Lion's Garden、the Lingering Garden、the Surging Waves Pavillion、Huqiu district.

Old Streets: Pingjiang Road、QilishanTang Road

Old Towns: Zhouzhuang old town、Tongli old town、Mudu old town、LuZhi old town

Others: HanShan temple、Suzhou amusement park、Lake Tai wetland park、Suzhou ancient canals

Modern Suzhou

Suzhou Industrial Park and Suzhou New Area are the best examples of modern Suzhou. They went through tens of years of development and the appearance changed daily to look completely new. Whether during the day or during the night, there will always appear some modernization, which is in strong contrast with the Old Town. It seems like you go from one city to another, from one era to another. This is perhaps a unique experience in Suzhou!

Jinji Lake scenic area: fascinating Jinji lake、spectacular music fountain and magical water screen movies、Ferris wheel park

Business centers: LiGongdi international street、around Times Square、GuanQian street、Shi Road commercial center、Moonlight dock.

Scenic Suzhou

"The landscape of Lake Tai is beautiful, especially in Wuzhong". Lake Tai has 72 peaks of which 58 are in Wuzhong district. The State Council established 13 Lake Tai scenic areas with 6 in Wuzhong. Thus Wuzhong embraces two thirds of the numerous sceneries of the Lake Tai waters and shores. Because the sea and land changes in early periods, within Wuzhong there is a dense water network of rivers, streams and lakes.

The mountains of Lake Tai are not high, but the mountain ranges are extensive. Qionlong mountain, Shigong mountain, Lingyan mountain, Tianping mountain, Yuyang mountain, Yaofeng mountain, Wang mountain and others are not only landscape for the city but also a protective screen. At the same time the lake area is turning into the best "natural forest oxygen bar".

Lake Tai: Lake Tai Ferris Wheel、Lake Tai Park、Lake Tai Bridge

Xishan scenic area: Jinting island、Piaomiao peak、Linwu mountian、Shigong mountain、Moonlight Bay.

Dongshan scenic area: Carved buildings、Luxiang old village、Place of Yuhua victory、Qi Garden

Guangfu scenic area: Guangfu Xiangxuehai scenic area、Situ temple、Tong Guanyin temple

Qionlong mountain scenic area