Situated in the northwest of Ancient City of Suzhou, Tiger Hill has the reputation of being the most beautiful scenic spot in Jiangsu Province, boasting picturesque scenery, many historical sites, limpid waters and a quiet environment. It will be a pity if you come to Suzhou without paying a visit to Tiger Hill.
With a history of more than 2,500 years, Tiger Hill became flourishing in the Spring and Autumn Period when King Helv of the State of Wu had his temporary dwelling palace built here. Legend has it that three days after King Helv was buried, a white tiger came and crouched on the top of the hill as if he was guarding the tomb, hence the name.
The hill is 36 metres (118 feet) high and covers an area of some 14,100 square meters. The Yunyan Pagoda (also called Tiger Hill Pagoda) atop of Tiger Hill is the most popular point. It is a seven-storey octagonal pagoda and 47.5 meters high, built with bricks. Well-known as the “Oriental Leaning Tower of Pisa”, it has leant towards the northwest in the past 400 years. Tiger Hill Pagoda is also the oldest pagoda in Suzhou and is the representative and symbol of Suzhou.
Although it is just a small hill, there are over 50 tourist attractions in the scenic zone, such as the Broken Beam Hall, Sword-Testing Stone, Sword Pond and Thousand People Rock.
The Broken Beam Hall, with a history of more than 600 years, is characterized by the beam across the middle roof, which is made of two unconnected wooden rods. Not a single nail can be found in the construction of the hall, which is joined together all through tenons.
King Helv was a capable warrior and a collector of rare swords. It is said that he once tested the sword upon this stone, leaving the crevice on the rock, hence the name Sword-Testing Stone.
Sword Pond, the most interesting place in the Tiger Hill, is about 45 square meters wide and 6 meters deep. The pond never dries and water there is very clear. The tomb of King Helv was under it. After his death, a collection of 3,000 swords was buried together with him. Sword Pond has not been excavated to search for these legendary swords because the base of the pagoda rests on the foundations of the pond.
After King Helv’s tomb was built, in order to keep the secret of the tomb, the 1000 workers who built it were killed on this rock, which is now called Thousand People Rock.
Suzhou is famous for its classic Bonzai trees which are intended to create images of mountain and forest scenes. In the Tiger Hill you will find Wanjing Villa, a garden of potted landscapes and “bonzai-style” shrubs, covering an area of about 1,700 square meters. If you are a gardener you will love this Villa.
Morning is a good time to visit Tiger Hill, when you can see people exercising, practising Taichi, walking, chatting and enjoying themselves.
Admission: 60yuan (Apr.16 – Oct.30); 40yuan (Oct.31 – Apr.15)
Getting there: You can take tourist bus No.1 and 2, or public bus No.8, 32, 146, or 949 to get there.