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Home >> China Travel City Guide >> Suzhou


Popular Chinese legend states that, "In heaven there is paradise, and on earth there are Hangzhou and Suzhou". Suzhou, with a population of about 6 million, has been praised as paradise on earth since ancient times. Being only two hours by train from Shanghai, Suzhou has enjoyed great prosperity and recognition over the years and this is an extraordinarily delicate and elegant city in parts. However, it is an exaggeration to refer to this pretty place as "paradise". Like in many other cities of China, bulldozers and cranes here have been busy everywhere. There is still a fir amount to see and traditional Chinese houses and gardens here make a nice change from the modernity of Shanghai.

Suzhou was founded in about 600 B.C. and gained a good fame one thousand years later when the Grand Canal was opened up. The great location of the city had been great contribution to its prosperity. By the 14th century, Suzhou had become the leading silk producer in China and this quaint little retreat become popular with visitors from the imperial court at Hangzhou. Artists, scolars and painters all retreated to this "Venice of the East" for inspiration and relaxation.

Suzhou was one of the few cities in China to escape the ravages of the Cultural Revolution, and its famous gardens survived without being damaged. The gardens embody the harmonious principles of Chinese garden construction which dictate that gardens should attempt to create a microcosm of the universe in a confined space. The best of all are the Fishing Net Master's Garden and the Humble Administrators Garden. The fine gardens here are particularly pleasant on a misty day and Suzhou's narrow streets and lanes can be very romantic and relaxing.

However, Suzhou can be packed with Chinese tour groups who are bussed in and out on day trips. It's most pleasant therefore, in the early evening when the sun is going down and the streets are emptying, to go out and enjoy the canals and the quaint small houses and alleys. Get there fast though, as things are changing. Hotels, skyscrapers and highways are going up and urban renewal is eating away at this little area of "paradise".

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Elephant Hill
Reed Flute Cave
Folded Brocade Hill
Mausoleum of Ming prince
Sun-Moon Towers
Lingqu Canal
Maozhou Island
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Two Rivers and Four Lakes
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Zhengyang Pedestrian Street
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Fuli Town
Yulong River
Xingping Village
Impression Liusanjie
Longmen Water Cave
Crown Cave
Fengyu Cave
Yuzi Sculpture Park
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