Mudu Water Town
- Private boat ride along the canals.
Mudu Water Town is a town in Wuzhong District, Suzhou. It takes about 1.5 hours to drive from the downtown in Suzhou to Mudu. It is a small town which is famous for its history. During the Qing dynasty, the Qianlong Emperor visited Mudu six times when he traveled around the country.
Nowadays, many teleplay groups also come to Mudu Water Town frequently to film television series. Due to this, many outlanders came to Mudu to make their business by renting out costumes and taking photos for visitors. There is a famous street in Suzhou named Shantang Street, Mudu also has one. It is shorter than the one in Suzhou downtown, but if you go straight along the street, one can approach to the Linyan Mountain, many visitors will first visit this mountain when they visited Mudu Water Town.
Old Pine Garden was built by Cai Shaoyu, a millionaire in the late Qing Dynasty. Cai Shaoyu’s ancestral home is Dongting Xishan. He was originally engaged in foreign goods business in Shanghai. Its architectural layout is a front house and back garden, a typical Qing Dynasty house garden style. The buildings in the house are simple and elegant, with fine carvings, which have certain artistic and cultural value. It is a cultural relic protection unit in Suzhou City. There is a Podocarpus pine of the Ming Dynasty in the back yard, which is green and vigorous and has a graceful posture. The ancient pine garden is named after the pine.
Yan‘s Garden, located in the north of Mudu, was originally the residence of Shen Deqian, a famous figure in Suzhou during the Qianlong period of the Qing Dynasty. In the eighth year of Daoguang in the Qing Dynasty (AD 1828), the descendants of the Shen family gave this courtyard to the Mudu poet Qian Duanxi. Qian’s family stacked stones to sparse pools, built pavilions and buildings, named Duanyuan, with friends in the bookstore, Tiaonong Building, and Yanqing Pavilion. In the twenty-eighth year of Guangxu (AD 1902), Mudu’s richest man, Yan Guoxin, bought Duanyuan, refurbished it and renamed it “Xianyuan”. Because the owner’s surname is Yan, the locals call it “Yan’s Garden”.
After the efforts of three generations of owners, Yan’s Garden lasted for more than two hundred years. Whether it was the vicissitudes of the years or the cultural heritage, it gave Yan’s Garden a cultural atmosphere and demeanor. It is called “the classic work of Jiangnan gardens” by the famous modern architect Professor Liu Dunzhen.There are several gardens like Old Pine Tree Garden, like Yan’s Garden, which are the old living places by many wealthy people who retired from the palace.
Hongyin Resort, located 200 meters east of the Yan’s Garden, is a famous garden during the Qianlong period of the Qing Dynasty. Every time Emperor Qianlong travelled to the south of the Yangtze River to visit Mudu, he would go to the resort, where he visited the garden, watched operas, tasted tea, and chanted poems. Therefore, the Hongyin Resort was also called the “civil palace” of Emperor Qianlong.
Source: Your China Specialists