Ten Dreamlike Water Towns in China
Zhouzhuang Water Town
Zhouzhuang, honored as one of the most famous water town in China, is located in the southeast of Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province. Surrounded by water, the town is noted for its profound cultural background, the well preserved ancient residential houses, the elegant watery views, and the strong local colored traditions and customs. Most of residencies and houses in the town were built in Ming (1368-1644) or Qing dynasties (1644-1911), and nearly 100 classic courtyards and 60 carved-brick archways are still in use. This beautiful small town has become the model of China’s water towns.
Xitang Water Town
Lying in Jiashan County in Jiaxing City, Zhejiang Province, Xitang is a typical water town in southern China with a history spanning over 1,000 years. 1000-meter covered corridor, 122 old-fashioned lanes, and 104 quaint bridges are what impress every visitor to Xitang. Setting it apart from other water towns, it has roofed streets alongside rivers with a total length of 1,000 meters, much like the long corridor in Summer Palace.
Tongli Water Town
Tongli is an age-old but very well preserved water town with a history of more than 1,000 years. It is seated alongside Taihu Lake, in east China’s Jiangsu Province, just 18 kilometers (11 miles) from Suzhou City and about an hour drive from Shanghai. The town features over 100 sites that include gardens, temples, mansions and former famous residences, with 7 small islands separated by 15 brooks in the shape of “Chuan(川)” and connected by 49 ancient bridges. Honored as the “Venice of the East”, it is renowned for its “Bridge, Water and People”, featuring a rich natural and cultural atmosphere.
Wuzhen Water Town
Among all the beautiful water towns south of the Yangtze River, Wuzhen has become especially noted for its history and culture and is the only water town with the Grand Canal running through. Located in the north of Tongxiang, Zhejiang Province, Wuzhen displays its profound culture and tradition in its ancient stone bridges floating on mild water, its stone pathways between the mottled walls and its delicate wood carvings. Original ancient town scenery like bridges, waterways and houses are well-preserved. A special thing about Wuzhen is that some of the houses beside the river are built on pillars to lift them above the surface of the waterway.
Luzhi Water Town
Located about 25 kilometers east of Suzhou in east China’s Jiangsu Province, and about 58 kilometers west of Shanghai, Luzhi is considered the first water town in China and its history goes back to more than 1400 years. Luzhi Water Town features the old stone bridges, peaceful canals, big maidenhair trees and old-style houses, as well as the traditional women’s costumes. Strolling through Luzhi Water Town offers a great opportunity for you to taste the life of Chinese old town. You will see how local people live their lives, people selling food, kids playing around and dogs sleeping in the sunshine, that’s just fascinating.
Nanxun Water Town
Nanxun is located in the north of Zhejiang Province, and just 51 kilometers distance from Suzhou. What stands out in Nanxun is that people of the town still live in their centuries-old houses. It is nice to wander around and watch the people go about their daily lives, see locals washing their clothes in the canals. It seems modern lifestyle touch little in this ancient town. Besides scenic view of rivers, bridges and ancient residences, Nanxun Water Town has more legendary history than the other water towns and is more famous for its elegant and exquisite gardens.
Mudu Water Town
Mudu is an ancient water town located on the shores of Taihu Lake to the southwest of Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province. Mudu distinguishes itself from the other water towns by being surrounded by hills and it is mostly famous for its excellent collection of classical gardens. With more than 30 private gardens during the Ming and Qing dynasties, Mudu is the only ancient town worth the reputation of Chinese garden town.
Zhujiajiao Water Town
Zhujiajiao, an ancient water town with a history of more than 1700 years, is located in a suburb of Shanghai, only about 50 kilometers away from the city centre. Zhujiajiao, also known as “the Venice of Shanghai”, features beautiful waterways, arched stone bridges, ancient streets paved with stones, and more than 10,000 houses dating back to Ming and Qing dynasties. Traditionally, goods and people were ferried on the small canals from house to house, passing under the 36 ancient stone bridges that are all still in use by locals and tourists alike.
Guangfu Water Town
When you come across the Guangfu town, you may not see the scenery like any other water towns of south of Yangtze River that fill with bridge and pavilion. Lying 20 km west of Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, Guangfu is a peninsular located on the bank of Taihu Lake and there are ranges of verdant hills surrounding the town. With a vast area of plum blossom lying on the hill as the unique water scenery, the town becomes more attractive! Known as “the land of plenty”, Guangfu Ancient Town is also a traditional craft township and one of the birthplaces of the Suzhou embroidery.
Anchang Water Town
Anchang is an ancient town 12 kilometers west of the city of Shaoxing in Zhejiang Province. It is elegant with classical simplicity, featuring the characteristic waterside architecture of South China. If you are looking for a less-crowded historical village to explore, this is the place. Taking a Wupeng boat to tour around the town is a must. With a simple and elegant atmosphere, the waterside town holds wedding ceremonies on the water, a custom unique to the area. A festival featuring its folk customs is held each year.