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Six Jiangnan water towns [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2014-8-18 19:25:17 |Display all floors
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Jiangnan – literally, “South of the Yangtze River” – is a vaguely defined area that straddles Shanghai and its two neighboring provinces, Jiangsu and Zhejiang. Out of its watery topography a dizzying matrix of canals was carved long ago, giving rise to an illustrious history of waterborne trade. The area became the economic anchor of the Grand Canal and its residents still enjoy a cherished waterside lifestyle. Jiangnan’s picturesque canal towns, known in Chinese as “shui xiang”, are characterized by burbling brooks, arched bridges, slab-stone paved alleys, waterside teahouses, and whitewashed Ming- and Qing-era homes. These water villages make an easy day trip from Shanghai or Suzhou.


The region west and northwest of Shanghai around Lake Tai includes some of China's loveliest countryside. You can find the region's traditional water towns, acclaimed for their arched bridges, ancient buildings and serene waterways. Here we list six of the most famous Jiangnan water towns.

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Zhouzhuang(周庄)

The most famous of the water villages, Zhouzhuang is a UNESCO-heritage site and the biggest and most beautiful of the river towns in Jiangnan. It is located near Tai Hu (Lake Tai)'s eastern shore. There are 3km of explorable canals, 2km of cobbled alleys and 14 stone bridges dating as far back at the Yuan Dynasty. Prosperity came to the town during the Ming Dynasty when silk and pottery flourished. Several aristocratic halls and a Buddhist temple make for interesting exploration, while more than 100 protected dwellings can be admired for their external architecture. Unfortunately, the town’s fame means that it’s one of the busiest water towns, and finding peace among the pavilions and passageways is tough.


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Tongli(同里水乡)

The canal town of Tongli, only 20km from Suzhou and 80 km from Shanghai, sits near Lake Tai and the Grand Canal and has been around since at least the ninth century. Arguably the nicest of Jiangnan’s water towns, Tongli is flush with picture-postcard scenes of arched bridges, cobbled alleys, hanging washing and an unhurried village way of life. The town is home to three huge aristocratic mansions and – surprisingly- it also boasts China’s best sex museum. Tongli is a popular destination for day trippers from Suzhou or Shanghai, but it manages to retain a pleasing weather-beaten charm, despite the flocks of tourists on weekends and holidays. It has been a magnet for television and film crews since 1983.


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Post time 2014-8-18 19:33:31 |Display all floors
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