Nanjing, Suzhou, Yongzhou, Wuxi
Nanjing, Suzhou, Yongzhou, Wuxi
Known as Jinling in old days, Nanjing is the capital of Jiangsu. Strategically situated on the Yangtze, with a moist climate, its terrain rendered majesty by the mountains in the background, it is also the province’s political, economic, cultural and transportation center. Nanjing today looks at once new and old-new due to the ongoing modernization drive, and old because it is already 2,460 years old, and, as one of the nation’s seven ancient capitals, it was the capital city for 10 feudal dynasties or regimes.
Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum
The mausoleum for Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), forerunner of Chinese democratic revolution, was built during the 1926-1929 period. The entire layout, covering 80,000 square meters, takes the shape of a giant bell.
Qinhuai River Scenic Belt
The Qinhuai River is a trunk waterway as well as a famed scenic belt in Nanjing clustered as it is on both banks with a host of places of historical and cultural interest. One of them is the Confucian Temple, where the great thinker is worshipped. The temple mingles congruously with the Ming and Qing buildings around it, turning the place into a renowned tourist, cultural and commercial street. Night cruise on the river and visiting the night fair at the Confucian Temple are unique tourist programs available for visitors to Nanjing.
A famous Buddhist establishment, the Linggu Temple 2km east of Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum is known for its 22-metre-high Wuliang (Beamless) Hall, constructed without a single inch of wood, pillar or beam.
Ming Great Wall
This section of the Great Wall is the best preserved and longest of all city sections of this mammoth de fence work.
Xuanwu & Mochou Lakes
Both Xuanwu Lake and Mochou Lake are well-known parks in Nanjing. Aside from gracious scenery, each has a rich historical legacy to show its visitors.
Suzhou, located in the Taihu Lake Basin, which is the most prosperous part of the Yangtze River Delta, and 199km east of Shanghai, is a famous cultural city with a history of more than 2,500 years. Rising simultaneously with the city itself were a Venice-like layout with tiny bridges sitting gracefully on rivulets and streams, which ran parallel with the streets. Suzhou is celebrated for its many classical gardens, and the UNESCO has endorsed some of them as world cultural heritage sites. The suburbs of Suzhou are studded with ancient waterfront towns-Zhouzhuang, Tongli and Luzhi are three of the most prestigious ones.
Beginning from the Song, construction of private landscape gardens and courtyard houses came in vogue among local scholar-gentry, so much so that for a time the city had as many as 270 such gardens. Aloofness from the den and traffic of the outside world was what was on the minds of owners of these gardens, in which limited space was cunningly arranged to engender scenic spots that allowed owners to have nature all to himself without stepping out of the city. In 1997, the UNESCO put Humble Administrator’s Garden, the Garden to Linger In, Fishing-Net Master’s Garden, and Circular-Grace Mountain Villa on its world cultural heritage site list. Humble Administrator’s Garden and Fishing-Net Master’s Garden are open at night so that visitors can attend theatrical performances and enjoy the night scenery.
Tiger Hill Park
Huqiu (Tiger Hill) Park is billed as “No.1 Scenic Place in the State of Wu”. Legend has it that this was where the remains of the King of Wu of the Spring and Autumn Period were buried. A pagoda was built on the hill in 961, which had begun to slant until its top deviated 2.34 meters from its axial line. Every year the park is the venue of a flower show and temple fair with a distinct local style.
Cold Mountain Temple
Built in 502, Hanshan (Cold Mountain) Temple earned its fame from a line composed by the Tang poet Zhang Ji: “Beyond the Suzhou walls the Temple of Cold Mountain tolled its bell, which broke the midnight still and signaled the arrival of a guest’s boat.” On New Year’s Eve, visitors flock to the temple to hear the tolling of the bell by the temple’s abbot, and attend a night of carnival celebrations.
Suzhou embroidery Institute
Suzhou Embroidery Research Institute in the Circular-Grace Garden is staffed with a team of top-notch embroidery masters in the tradition of one of China’s four eminent schools of embroidery.
Panmen City Gate
Panmen is the oldest city gate in existence in Suzhou and the only one on a river-the oldest section of the Grand anal dug 2,500 years ago. Nearby stands Ruiguang (Auspicious Light) Pagoda, which has a history of 1,000 years. The city gate and the pagoda together form the most distinctive section of the wall of the ancient city of Suzhou.
Zhouzhuang, an Ancient TownThirty km from downtown Suzhou sits Zhouzhuang, extolled as No.1 water-bound town of China for its labyrinth of waterways, Ming and Qing dwellings, and honest-to-goodness folkways. Boat racing, lantern shows and old granny’s tea are part and parcel of local tradition. The folklore of this water bound town is celebrated at an international tourist festival, which takes place on April 12.
Tongli, another Ancient Town
Fifteen rivers, 6 km in total length, carve Tongli, a town 20 km from Suzhou, into 7 sections linked by 49 ancient bridges. Tongli is also a veritable museum of Ming and Qing architecture, and the venue of the famous Tuisi (Introspection) Garden, a classical garden in the style of the lower Yangtze River reaches. The annual “Spring of Tongli” tourist cultural festival takes place in town on April 18.
The Grand Canal runs across Wuxi, a city in south Jiangsu Procvince bordered by Lake Taihu to the south and Suzhou to the east, and 128 km from Shanghai. Wuxi is also a major industrial city south of the Yangtze, a “land of fish and rice”, and a famous tourist city. The 2,000-square-km Lake Taihu, one of the five major freshwater lakes in China, spans both Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces. As its surface gradually encroaches upon downtown Wuxi, the lake becomes as photogenic as a “natural painting”. All manner of pleasure boats bring visitors on tours of discovery to such sights as Triple Isles and Turtle-Head Islet, which is actually a peninsular with the best view of the lake.
Wuxi is also known for its classical gardens, and most popular of these are Jichangyuan in Xihui Park and Liyuan by Lake Taihu. Emperors Kangxi and Qianlong had visited Jichangyuan repeatedly and heaped praises on it in calligraphic inscriptions. Liyuan Garden, situated on the northern shore of the Lihu Lake (an arm of Lake Taihu) in southwest Wuxi, stands out for its gracious mountains and glistening water surface. New, high-class tourist attractions include Wu Culture Park and Space City. Taihu Film and Television City, a location center for China central Television, consists of a series of gigantic scenic zones such as City of Three Warring States, Tand City, Water Margin City, and European City. Half way up the Lesser Lingshan Mountain in Mashan District stands an 88-metre bronze statue of Sakyamuni, consecrated in 1997 as the largest likeness of the Buddha in China. There is no lack of scenes and sights to see in the three cities under the jurisdiction of Wuxi–Jiangyin, Yixing and Xishan. Jiangyin is known for its Yangtze River Bridge Scenic Zone and Huaxi, a village with a from rags-to-riches story. Yixing, where the famous purple pottery ware are made, is the world-famous Capital of Chinese pottery industry.
The Yangtze River crosses the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal at Zhenjiang, a central Jiangsu city known for its rich cultural legacy and picturesque landscape. Major attractions: Jinshan Hill, Beigushan Hill, and Song-and-Yuan Ancient Street. The Jinshan Monastery, dating back to the East Jin, is a famed ancient temple in China. Longchang Temple, built more than 1,500 years ago in Baohuashan Scenic Zone, is a famous Taoist domain.
The central Jiangsu city of Yangzhou, situated at the juncture of the angtze River and the Grand Canal, has made a name for itself with a wealth of sites of historical interest and elegant gardens. These include the Lean West Lake (actually a natural waterway feeding mountain runoffs into the Grand Canal), Geyuan Garden (whose forte is artificial rockwork), and Lesser Pangu Garden. During their repeated visits to Yangzhou, emperors Kangxi and Qianlong left a succession of historical sites on the land of Yangzhou. This has prompted local travel agencies to invent the “Emperor Qianlong Cruise”, which transports visitors to a string of local attractions. Shugand Scenic Zone and Cruise on the Ancient Grand Canal are yet another two popular tourist programs. Other places worth seeing: Tianning Temple Museum, Daming Temple, Monk Jianzhen Memorial Hall, and Memorial Hall of Eight Yangzhou Eccentrics.