When people in China think about gardens, they often think about Suzhou, a city famous for exquisite classical Chinese gardens. Nine of its gardens are treasures protected on UNESCO’s World Heritage list, dating from the 11th to 19th centuries, and often built by scholars or government officials. Suzhou was named Wu in the ancient times. First built in 514B.C., the city has a rich history of 2,500 years. The old city has generally retained the unique characteristics of the past. We can see its double-chessboard layout in which "the streets and rivers go side by side, while the water and land routes run in parallel"; We can also see its "3 longitudinal. 3 horizontal and one ring like" river course; its small bridges over slowly flowing waters: its "red brick walls with black tiled roofs" and its "historical interests and well-known gardens". Historically this is a remarkable place rich in outstanding talents and natural resources. The city is praised as "the earthly heaven" for its fully developed traditional culture and its scenic gardens.
• This tour is great for those on a tight budget or schedule. The beautifully landscaped city of Suzhou is located in the south-east of Jiangsu Province. The Grand Canal (Sui Dynasty 581-618), which flows from Beijing to Hangzhou (the capital of Zhejiang Province) has irrigated Suzhou aiding its illustrious culture and turning it into prosperous land. It is of little surprise that Suzhou is called ''Heaven on Earth''.
• Suzhou is known for its quietly beautiful classical gardens, and on your tour you will visit all the essential gardens and spots that has made Suzhou famous
• A professional English-speaking guide, who is also a native of the city, will accompany you on your tour. This will ensure that not only will your tour be stress-free, but it will also be highly informative and enjoyable.
Most likely we will drive you to Suzhou from Shanghai. Suzhou isrenowned for its beautiful stone bridges, pagodas, and meticulously designed gardens which have contributed to its status as a great tourist attraction. It is widely known as the “Chinese Venice.” Free day.
After breakfast we will begin your touring of Suzhou. Our first stop will be the Humble Administrator’s Garden. The garden is the best representative of Chinese classical gardens. Constructed in the Ming dynasty, the garden focuses on a central pond with pavilions, terraces, chambers, and towers located nearby, the garden is divided into three parts: the eastern, middle and western parts. Don't miss the Garden Museum - actually don't miss any of this lovely place. You should wear comfortable shoes, as there's a lot of walking here.
Our next stop on our tour will be Tiger Hill. The 36-meter-tall Huqiu (Tiger Hill) stands outside the lumen Gate to the north west of Suzhou. It was where the King of the State of Wu( a small state in the Spring and Autumn Periods over thousands of years ago) Fu Chai, buried his father-Helu along with 3,000 swords. Legend has it that on the third day after the burial, a white tiger appeared to guard the tomb, hence the name of the hill.
The Yunyan Temple, another key attraction on the hill, is one of the most famous Buddhist land in this part of China. Even Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty could not resist its peaceful ambience so he decided to make the temple his temporary residence during his Suzhou trip.
It is off to another beautiful Chinese garden that Suzhou is so famed for, the Lingering Garden. Liuyuan, or Lingering Garden, was first built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and was rebuilt by a Qing official. Its Taihu Lake rocks boost its reputation both at home and abroad. The core of the two-hectare garden is a pond, with hills to the northwest and buildings to the southeast responsible for a good many of the contrasting effects. The eastern section features mainly halls and courtyards. The imposing Wufengxian (Five-Peak immortals) Hall is the largest hall of all the Suzhou gardens. The western section is dotted with vegetation whereas the northern section is reminiscent of a peaceful countryside.
Our final stop today will be at the Canglang Pavilion (Blue Wave Pavilion). It is one of the four most famous gardens of the city. Canglang Pavilion is the oldest of the Suzhou gardens that can be traced back to the Northern Song Dynasty (906-1127). During that part of history, a scholar Su Shunqing was demoted and sent to Suzhou. He bought the garden and built the pavilion in a setting adjacent to water that was on the property that would enhance the beauty of the garden. The garden was then named Canglang Pavilion in honor of his namesake, Canglang Wong.
We'll transfer you back to Shanghai, or we will continue to serve you to tour another beautiful city - Hangzhou.
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