Humble Administrator’s Garden
Located on Northeast Street of Suzhou, the Humble Administrator’s Garden is the largest classical garden in Suzhou, enjoying a reputation of being the “Mother of Chinese Gardens”. It is considered as one of China’s four most famous gardens, along with the Summer Palace in Beijing, the Mountain Summer Resort of Chengde in Hebei Province and the Lingering Garden in Suzhou. As a part of Suzhou gardens, it has been included in the World Heritage List. The focus of the garden is its central pool around which cluster charming pavilions and walkways. Covering an area of 52,000 square meters, the garden as it stands today falls into the eastern, central, western parts, and a dwelling quarter.
Master of the Nets Garden
Situated on the southeastern corner of the Old City of Suzhou, the Master of the Nets Garden is small and exquisite, unique for the combination of a garden and a dwelling quarter. The eastern part is the dwelling houses; the central part is the main garden; and the western part is the inner garden, displaying the typical characteristics of the official residences of the Qing Dynasty. Various buildings are found around a pond in the center of the garden. Despite its tiny size, it resembles a water-bound land featuring beautiful flowers, tall trees and changeable scenery. The Master of the Nets Garden is a land of peace, and it was included in the in the World Heritage List by the UNESCO in 1997.
Lion Grove Garden
Situated in the city proper of Suzhou, the Lion Grove Garden was first constructed in the Yuan Dynasty, being the representative of the gardens of the Yuan Dynasty. The garden contains a number of artificial hills that can bee seen everywhere, a long corridor, towers and terraces tucked away in the woods, and winding paths.
Located outside of the Changmen Gate of Suzhou, the Lingering Garden is one of the four famous gardens in China and it was included in the in the World Heritage List in 1997. The Lingering Garden, integrating dwelling houses, a shrine, a nunnery and a garden, seeks to create stunning natural landscapes within limited space. The number of the buildings in the Lingering Garden is the most among all the gardens in Suzhou. The most famous scenic spot in the Lingering Garden is the Cloud-Capped Peak, which is the landmark of the Lingering Garden.
Hanshan Temple, literally “Cold Mountain Temple”, is located at the town of Fengqiao (Maple Bridge), about 5 kilometres west of the old city of Suzhou. It is a Buddhist temple in Suzhou and in history it was one of the 10 most famous temples in China. Hanshan Temple owes its eminence to a poem entitled “A Night Mooring by Maple Bridge” written by Zhang Ji (a famous poet of the Tang Dynasty) and the ringing of the bell at the temple on Chinese New Years’ eve.
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. The Yunyan Pagoda (also called Tiger Hill Pagoda) atop of Tiger Hill is the oldest pagoda in Suzhou and is the representative and symbol of Suzhou. Well known as the “Oriental Leaning Tower of Pisa”, it has leant towards the northwest in the past 400 years.
Located in the centre of Ancient City of Suzhou, Guanqian Street is a pedestrian walkway boasting a large number of historical sites, flourishing commerce and many famous shops, of which some shops have a history of over a hundred years. As famous as the Nanjing Confucius Temple, Old City God Temple of Shanghai and Beijing’s Tianqiao, Guanqian Pedestrian Shopping Street is the best place in Suzhou for shopping, dining and entertaining.
Old Shantang Street
The Old Shantang Street is adjacent to Changmen Gate in the east, and reaches Tiger Hill in the west. With a history of more than 1,100 years, the old street features houses with white washed walls and black tiles as well as a canal that runs along the street. Its layout best represents the characteristics of Suzhou’s old alleys. The renovated old street gathers a large number of time-honored shops, various types of civilian residences, old temples, ancestral halls, ancient bridges, memorial arches, and guildhalls. Now this pedestrian street has become an ideal leisure and recreation center with the many newly-built bars and tea houses.
Zhouzhuang Water Town
Located in the southeast of Suzhou City, the Zhouzhuang Water Town is honored as one of the most famous water town in China, with a history of over 900 years. 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. The rivers and streams in Zhouzhuang crisscross the town and are spanned by 14 stone-arch bridges constructed in Yuan (1271-1368), Ming, and Qing dynasties.
Mudu Ancient Town
Mudu is an ancient water town located on the shores of Taihu Lake to the southwest of Suzhou City. 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. Surrounded by quiet, delicate landscape and connected to the Taihu Lake through lots of waterways, Mudu old town wins a good reputation of superb grace and elegance. Mudu is the only ancient town worth the reputation of Chinese garden town.
Tongli Water Town
Tongli Water Town, 11 miles from Suzhou City, is an age-old but very well preserved water township with a history of more than 1,000 years. Bridges are important parts of the town. 15 small river lanes crisscrossed the town, over which spans around 49 stone bridges in variety of styles. Tongli Water Town deserves its reputation of a “museum of ancient architecture” as there are many houses and temples dating from the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Situated in Northeast Street on the western side of the ruins of the Residence of Royal King of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, it is a local comprehensive museum, and the “last piece of work” of Leoh Ming Pei, a world-renowned architect. The design fully absorbed the most advanced architectural concept of the contemporary era and the traditional architectural elements of Suzhou. The museum holds abundant culture relics, of which the celadon bowl with lotus pattern of Yue ware and the paintings and calligraphic works of the Wu-school painters of the Ming Dynasty are the most precious.
First constructed during the Southern and Northern Dynasties, the Chongyuan Temple has a history of over 1,500 years. The renovated temple presents the new look of a “Buddhist temple in the land of water”. The temple enshrines a statue of Avalokitesvara, 33 meters high, which is the highest indoor statue of the goddess in China. The Hall of Mahavira is 38 meters high and ranks first in the floorage in the whole country.
Situated in the Suzhou Industrial Park, Jinji Lake covers an area of 10 square kilometers. The scenic zone mainly contains the City Plaza, Lakeside Avenue, Linglong Bay, Culture Water Corridor, Jinji Mound and Poxin islet. The blue sky, limpid water, green lawns and tall trees have made it a new famous scenic spot of Suzhou.
Suzhou Maple Bridge Scenic Zone
Situated in the suburbs of Suzhou, the Maple Bridge Scenic Zone contains a great number of historical sites and features local customs and lifestyle. The main tourist attractions in the scenic zone include Fengqiao Town, Hanshan Temple, Tieling Barrier, Tang lanterns, Jinghong Ferry, an ancient stage, Yuyin Village, Tingzhong Bridge, the streets of the Ming and Qing dynasties, Jiangfeng Thatched Cottage, etc.
Suzhou Pingjiang Historical Area
On the northeastern corner of Ancient City of Suzhou, it is the most typical and best preserved historical cultural area in Suzhou, with a history of over 2,500 years. In this area, you can find the parallel roads and rivers in the double chessboards layout, small bridges, flowing waters, cottages and old and deep lanes, showing the characteristics of the land of water in South China. This area embraces many ancient bridges, wells, trees, memorial archways, and civilian residences, in addition to Couple’s Retreat Garden (Ou Garden), which has been included in the World Heritage List.