Jiangsu Province, with Nanjing as its provincial capital, is located on China’s east coast, sharing borders with Anhui, Shandong, Zhejiang and Shanghai. The abbreviation for this province is Su. Jiangsu is laced with canals, rivers and lakes, which earned it the nickname “Land of Water’. The province is rich in tourism resources, such as classical gardens, interesting water towns, Grand Canal and great lakes.
Several Jiangsu cities contain fine examples of Chinese classical gardens, but those in Suzhou are the ones most well known. Generally speaking, the classical gardens in Suzhou occupy less area, but through ingenious design they all display a sense of poetic grace in a relatively limited space. A dozen of them are still in good condition today, including the Humble Administrator’s Garden, the Lion Grove Garden, the Master-of-Nets Garden, the Lingering Garden, the Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty, the Canglang Pavilion, the Garden of Cultivation, the Garden of Couple’s Retreat, and the Retreat and Reflection Garden. The unique charm of these classic gardens led to their entry into the World Heritage List.
Besides Suzhou, there are also gorgeous classical gardens in other cities of Jiangsu, namely Geyuan Garden and Heyuan Garden in Yangzhou, and Jichang Garden in Wuxi.
A typical water town in Jiangnan (Southern Yangtze River) comprises beautiful river views, well-preserved riverside houses and centuries-old stone bridges. There is a group of interesting water towns in Jiangsu, most of which are located in and around Suzhou. The most famous ones include Zhouzhuang Water Town (possibly the best known of these), Tongli Water Town (where the Retreat and Reflection Garden is located), Luzhi Water Town (featuring unique style of women’s wear), Mudu Water Town (which is mostly famous for its excellent collection of classical gardens).
Riding on a local-style boat to cruise around the town makes a once-in-a-life-time experience! Walking is the best way to explore these tidy and quiet water towns. What makes the scenery of the water towns even more lively and appealing is that there are many local residents living there and they maintain the traditional living styles. On your way, you will see locals fanning coal stoves, washing clothes in the river, doing physical exercise beside historic stone bridges…Who known what else you will discover next?
With a history of over 2,500 years, the Grand Canal of China, also known as the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, is one of China’s greatest engineering marvels and a major force in China’s history. It is the longest ancient canal or artificial river in the world, with a total length of around 1,770 km (1,114 miles). Starting from Beijing, it passes through Tianjian and provinces of Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, then to the city of Hangzhou. The oldest parts of the canal date back to the 5th century BC, although the various sections were finally combined into one during the Sui Dynasty (581-618 AD).
There are several cities within Jiangsu offering different tours focused on the Grand Canal, such as Suzhou, Yangzhou, Wuxi and Changzhou. The Grand Canal is an amazing tourist attraction that cannot be missed in Jiangsu.
One highly remarkable feature of Jiangsu is its abundance of lakes, some of which are very large, such as Lake Tai (the largest) and Lake Hongzehu. These lakes are of a good variety, some being natural and some man-made (e.g. Tianmu Lake). Some, like Slender West Lake, are known for their ornamentation and gardens; others for their excellent fish and lake delicacies, such as Yangcheng Lake.
Jiangsu is rich in exquisite crafts and craft-making, and almost every city has something unique to offer, such as the world-famous Suzhou Embroidery, Nanjing Cloud Brocade, Yangzhou Lacquer-ware and Yixing Teapot.
Kunshan, a county-level city under Suzhou, is where the world intangible cultural heritage Kunqu Opera originated, and Changshu is the hometown of another world heritage, a plucked seven-string Chinese musical instrument named Guqin. In addition, the Jiangsu folk song – Mo Li Hua (Such a Beautiful Jasmine Flower), and one of the most famous Erhu pieces – The Moon Mirrored in Erquan, are classics that widely spread around the world.
Huaiyang Cuisine is one of the major schools of Chinese Cuisine. It is derived from the native cooking styles of the region surrounding the lower reaches of the Huai River and Yangtze River, and centers on the cities of Yangzhou and Huai’an in Jiangsu Province, hence the name. This style is characterized in that: for every dish, the work emphasizes the major material and the way the material is cut is very important in how successful the dish is cooked, and consequently the taste. The famous dishes include: Yangzhou Fried Rice, Steamed Meatballs with Crabmeat, Shredded Dried Beancurd, Chicken Baked in Mud, and Brined Duck, etc.
Jiangsu also boasts exquisite snacks, among which the Nanjing Eight Unique Snacks of the Qinhuai River and Suzhou Pastries are the most well known, e.g. Steamed Gravy Buns, Fresh Meat Mooncakes, and Green Rice Cakes, and so on.