at the Auspicious Light Pagoda
Garden with waterfall
Shanghai we went by bus to Suzhou, about 120 km away from Shanghai - at
first glance a big, modern city with approx. 670,000 inhabitants, which
however can look back on a 2500 years old history and which is one of the
oldest cities in the Yangtze delta. In 514 BC King Helu of Wu established
it as his capital under the name "Great City of Helu" and it became the
cradle of the Wu culture. It is an interesting fact, that Helu was buried
in Huqiu (Tiger Hill). The multifaceted city is also known as "Venice of
the East", "City of Gardens" and "Silk Capital". In the charming historic
old town there are still many historic buildings and constructions. Approx.
400 bridges, some of them dating from the Ming dynasty, span about 72 canals,
which are bustling with boats and traditional
barques. Old houses, restaurants, taverns and pubs line the banks of
the old town and everywhere the traditional lanterns are seen, which cast
a spell over the city with their red shining light at night – an invitation
for a romantic evening. Similar, but much more intimate, is the charming
“water town” of Tongli.
to its strategically favourable situation at the Grand
Canal in the fertile area of the Yangtze mouth, Suzhou always
has been one of the most important commercial centres of China. Since the
14th c. the best silk in China has been manufactured here - reason enough
for us to visit also a silk spinning mill. The Grand Canal is with a total
length of 1,794 kilometers (1115 miles) the world’s longest manmade waterway.
It goes from Beijing to Hangzhou (Zhejiang province) and connects
five large rivers.
Most well-known however are probably the "Classical
Gardens of Souzhou", from which we visited the "The Humble Administrator's
Garden" and in Tongli the "The Retreat & Reflection
Garden" - a marvellous experience and the highlight of our stay.