Fengjing ancient town, located about 57 kilometres (about 35 miles) in the southwest of Shanghai City, is a typical water town with a history of more than 1,500 years. Like the other water towns, such as Zhouzhuang, Zhujiajao and Tongli, Fengjing is full of cobbled streets and whitewashed houses backing on to the water, but unlike the others, it is not quite as packed with tour groups and maintains a more relaxed and local vibe.
The town is well-known as “pass two bridges within a few steps, and a chance glimpse catches ten rivulets” for its surrounding water network and numerous rivulets inside. There are 52 bridges in the town, all of which make for nice views and pretty photo-ops. Zhihe Bridge, the oldest one with a history of more than 700 years, Rainbow Bridge, and Couple Bridge where newlyweds should cross on their wedding day, are particular standouts. Standing on the Zhihe Bridge, which is simple and solid with lichen growing in its stone seams, you will have a panoramic view of the trees and old houses.
Many buildings in the town area are of a distinct Ming-Dynasty or Qing-Dynasty style. They are mainly two-story structures of brick and timber with white washed walls and black-tile-covered roofs. Each has wing-rooms, dooryard and walkway. Most of the buildings hang the Chinese Lanterns highly. The combination of red, grey and white emits quiet and harmonious.
This ancient town is rich in historical relics but also famous for its unique folk arts. It is the birth place of Jinshan Peasant Painting. Peasants in Jinshan area, based on their daily life and working experience, created a unique artistic style, which gained great reputation at home and abroad. In addition, you also can find many other folk crafts, such as blue allover, furniture-carving, kitchen mural, festival lanterns, paper-cuts and embroidery.
This place is full of diversity in religion which is seldom seen in South China. There are different religion temples likes Buddhism, Taoism, Catholic as well as Christian Churches.
The canal itself is an attraction too, you can enjoy a boat trip on it. At night, many hundreds of red lanterns hang on the buildings on both sides of the canal and glow in the dark, the lights and the whitewashed walls reflect off the dark waters, which make for a pretty picture.
Hungry now after strolling around in the town? Don’t leave without sampling one or two the local specialties known as the Four Treasures of Fengjing: yellow rice wine, Fengjing braised pig’s feet, zhuang yuan cake or “scholar cake” and tian xiang dry bean curd.