Suzhou is sometimes referred to as the “Venice of the East”. It is one of the first cities in the world built on water. Instead of streets, there are canals across which ancient stone bridges are thrown, and the entire historical center with its ancient buildings and well-kept gardens was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in the late 90s. In addition to beautiful river scenery, Suzhou still has handicraft traditions. Here you can buy handmade embroidery on silk, hand-crafted pearls and various souvenirs made of stone and bone.
Note: according to allcitypopulation, the population of China is 1.412 billion (2021).
The city was founded in 514 BC and immediately acquired the status of a developed center of trade, it was here that the finest Chinese silk was made, which was exported to almost all countries of the world. Even today, the city is full of merchants, the streets are bustling, but at the same time, life flows slowly and measuredly. All buildings here can be called monumental, guests enter the city through the huge Panmen gate, which is more than a dozen centuries old, they are located both on land and on water. And the old paired pagodas are visible far beyond the city limits.
The canal, which runs through the entire city with a length of almost two thousand kilometers, was built from the 7th century, and more than five million people worked on its construction. This is an important water transport artery and to this day, almost two thousand people are establishing the work of its unique system of locks.
In general, the city is conditionally divided into two parts: the historical center, with its untouched pristine nature, and the industrial and commercial center, the importance of which on the scale of the entire world economy can hardly be overestimated. They are the personification of history, rich traditions, and the modern rhythm of life.
How to get to Suzhou
The city does not have its own airport, and the nearest one is in Shanghai – the journey from it will take a little less than an hour by train. It has three stations where trains arrive from Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing. There are also three bus stations – here, in addition to Shanghai and Nanjing, you can also come from Hangzhou.
In addition, if you want to enjoy the local views longer, you can also take a ferry from Shanghai to Suzhou.
Cuisine and Restaurants in Suzhou
The food here is varied. All dishes are slightly sweet, with an abundance of various sauces that harmoniously complement the main taste. There are plenty of good restaurants, the most popular of which is Sunhalow, where you will be offered roasted duck or pork with cherry sauce.
But still, it is much more interesting to get acquainted with the traditional local cuisine at the city market, which is a whole tourist quarter with a huge number of shops, souvenir shops, and ethnic restaurants. Here you can try the notorious hairy crab with sweet soy sauce.
And Suzhou cuisine is especially famous for its confectionery products, which are prepared here on the basis of unusual rice flour. The signature dish of confectioners is Moon Pie. You can wash it down with a traditional tea variety for this area with the poetic name “spring snail tea”.
Attractions and attractions in Suzhou
First of all, Suzhou is famous for its parks. They are rightfully considered the most luxurious and beautiful in the whole country, and their history dates back to the 4th century. More than two hundred living compositions of various trees and flowers have turned this city into a real “paradise on earth.”
The oldest existing urban park is considered to be the Blue Waves Park. It is surrounded by mountains that surrounded it with a wall. Bamboo groves are spread here, there is a rock garden and alpine slides.
But the largest one is the Garden of a modest official, a large territory of which is occupied by man-made lakes, on which pavilions are located, interconnected by numerous bridges. Mandarin ducks revered in China, which are an ancient symbol of devoted love, settled on these lakes, even one of the pavilions is named after them.
There is also the garden of the Lion’s Cave, this is also a kind of rock garden on the shore of a small lake, the heap of which has a clear resemblance to the figures of lions. And in the northeast of the park is Mount Tigris. According to legend, an imperial tomb was built on this mountain, the peace of which was guarded by a rare white tiger for several days. Now on this place rises an amazingly beautiful pagoda, the foundation of which is a little lopsided, which is why it is also called the Leaning Pagoda, by analogy with the Leaning Tower of Pisa. At the foot of this mountain is the “Stone of 1000 people”, near which, according to legend, a thousand men were killed, and now, when it rains, blood comes out on the stone.
Hanshan is considered one of the most ancient and beautiful temples in Suzhou. It is famous for its ancient bell tower, sometimes the wind carries faint sounds of bells, but on big holidays their unusual melody is heard on all nearby streets.
In general, despite the numerous parks, oases of peace and tranquility, life in the city is quite lively. The narrow streets are densely populated with old shops selling colorful goods. Here you can buy real works of Chinese folk art.
It is in Suzhou that the famous Chinese fans are made, painstaking manual work, striking in its filigree and craftsmanship. And you should definitely visit the Silk Museum, which contains the entire centuries-old history of the development of the silk industry.
Here you can buy the famous Chinese silk, as well as products with unique Suzhou embroidery. It is in Suzhou that you should buy real Chinese green tea.
Fans of outdoor activities can look into the local Disney Park, which is located right on Mount Shizishan.