Tongli Water Town
To be explored soon…
Tongli Water Town, alternately Tong-Li is a town in Wujiang district, on the outskirts of Suzhou, Jiangsu province. It is known for a system of canals, it has been given the nickname “Venice of the East”. The place retains many of the features of an ancient Wu region town.
Tongli is half an hour away from Suzhou city and about two hours from Shanghai by buses.
Tongli Water Town was built in the Song dynasty and till now, it has a history of more than 1000 years. According to records of Annals of Tongli of Jiaqing of the Qing dynasty, Tongli has already been the strategic town of central Wujiang since Song, Yuan and Ming Dynasties.
Tongli Water Town was listed as one of the national-level Taihu scenic spots in 1980 and one of the provincial-level cultural relic protection units in 1982. In 1992, it was listed as a provincial-level cultural relic protection town. Its famous scenic spot “Tuisi Garden” was listed into the world cultural heritages by the UNESCO.
The Retreat & Reflection Garden
One of most notable attractions is the Retreat & Reflection Garden. It was designed by the artist Yuanlong for Ren Lansheng and built in 1885-1887. It boasts unique layout with a complete collection of pavilion, terrace, tower, porch, bridge, hall and house centered by pond as if these architectures are floating on it. The compact and natural layout, plants and sceneries of four seasons contribute to a clear, secluded and bright Tuisi Garden. In 2001, the Retreat & Reflection Garden was recognized with other classical Suzhou gardens as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is an island on the lake. There are Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism in this place. Its scenery is very beautiful. During the Spring Festival, people will go there to strike the bell to pray.
The Pearl Tower
It is a not real tower and it is just a model made up of pearls. Also, it’s the name of a famous drama. It is in this place that the moving story between Fangqin and Chen Cui’e happened. Fangqin’s father was banished by the court. So he came to his aunt to ask for help, but when his aunt heard of the bad news of Fang’s she despised the poor and refused to help him. But his cousin was very kind and gave the Pearl Tower secretly to Fangqin. So latterly, Fangqin became the Zhuangyuan.
There are 55 bridges in the town of Tongli. The most famous are the three bridges. They are Taiping, Jili, and Changqing Bridges. They all represent blessing. When getting married, the birth of a child, celebrating birthday, people will walk across the three bridges to pray for the health and happiness.