Zhouzhuang is an ancient town in the south of the Yangtze River of China. It’s located in the southeast of Suzhou City. 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.
The town, honored as one of the most famous water town in China, has 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.
The water town Zhouzhuang is worth a leisurely day of strolling through its cobbled lanes, boating on the willow-lined canals and visiting the famous attractions like Twin Bridges, Fuan Bridge, Shen House, Zhang House, Milou Tower and Chengdu Taoist Temple, etc. The Twin Bridges, composing of Shide Bridge and Yongan Bridge, are the most famous ones here, being regarded as the symbol of Zhouzhuang. Fuan Bridge, founded in 1355 during the Yuan Dynasty, is the perfect combination of the single-arch bridge and bridge towers, which is a good place to enjoy the beautiful scenery. The Shen House was the private villa of the merchant Shen Wansan, the first millionaire at the beginning of the Ming Dynasty. Zhang House is a graceful residential house with a tranquil courtyard and pond. And the Milou Tower is well-known for being a rally venue of the liberators in old times.
It will be a memorable experience to board a Chinese-style gondola to cruise the town’s beautiful waterways with the gondolier. Most of the gondoliers are women and they will sing traditional Chinese folk songs for you.
Apart from the waterways there is much to see in the narrow alleys lined on both sides with shops selling all kinds of unimaginable objects that seem to belong to another age but make good souvenirs to bring home.
After over 900 years, the architectural styles of the water town are pretty much the same as they were in the past. You’ll see how daily life has remained unchanged over the centuries in this unique old town.