The Liu Yuan Lingering Garden is a rather quiet garden, it has only a few special features, like a huge "Tai Hu" stone, which was originally intended for the Emperor Huizong. The details of the garden, however, are designed especially subtly, making it the most beautiful garden of Suzhou.
The "Xuan Miao Guan" is a Daoist temple right on the pedestrian zone. The name means "Mysterious temple". The temple district was built in 276 AD, all buildings stand on a central square. The "Xuan Miao Temple" is the most beautiful temple of Suzhou.
In "Zhuo Zheng Yuan" Humble Administrator's Garden you'll find all the elements of a classical Chinese Garden. The largest garden of Suzhou is an absolute masterpiece of garden art. The changeovers between nature and buildings are unsurpassed. The "Zhuo Zheng Yuan" is the main attraction of Suzhou.
The "Wang Shi Yuan" Garden of the Master of the Nets is famous for its beautiful architectural details, particularly the many windows with beautiful ornaments, framing the background like a picture. These compositions of the foreground and background are succeeded here in an ingenious way.
Suzhou is also often called the Venice of China. Many canals pass through the Old Town and wide waterways flow around the former city wall. The city is surrounded by a network of canals, that allow the transportation of goods to all parts of China.
On the outer channel "Waicheng He", an old bridge was rebuilt. The Half arc in the middle of the bridge, becomes a whole circle through the mirror image in the water. Who wants to cross the bridge must therefore climb a steep staircase.
The slender double pagoda "Shuang Ta" with its 6 floors, was built in the Song Dynasty. Two brothers built the two towers to thank their teacher in 982. The brothers had just passed the official examinations, which was regarded as the highest professional goal in China,that provided prosperity for the whole family. Later, the two pagodas became part of a temple complex. The Double Pagoda is one of the top sights of Suzhou, but is somewhat hidden in a small alley.
The "Ruiguang Pagoda" is located on the outer canal, in the south-west of the old town. It is part of the "Pan Men Scenic Area", with remnants of the old city wall, the "Wumen Qiao", abeautiful bridge and a garden with two large halls on a small lake. Whoever climbs the "Ruiguang Pagoda" has a beautiful view of the lake with the "Pan Men" building behind. The name Ruiguang means "auspicious light" because a colored light was seen above the pagoda. The pagoda is the oldest Buddhist temple in Suzhou. It was built during the period of the Three Kingdoms "San Guo" between 208-280 AD.
Welcome to Suzhou
Suzhou is also called the "Venice" of China because of its canals. The comparison lags very much and does not help the city either. Suzhou is much more a the city of gardens, here are some of the most important classical gardens in China. Suzhou is also famous for its silk production, which made the city rich and important.
Suzhou is about 2 hours by train from Shanghai and can be visited as a day trip. Suzhou has many famous gardens for which you should take your time. If you want to visit all the beautiful gardens and the silk factory, you should stay 2-3 days. The old town, which is surrounded by a wide canal, can be easily explored on foot, here are the most famous gardens of the city.
On my last visit to Suzhou, all of the scooters were electrically powered, which made strolling through the city very pleasant. The city was clean and the air pollution was low compared to other Chinese cities.
The gardens "Liu Yuan" and "Hu Qiu Shan" (Tiger Hill) are located west of the old town. For this you should better take a taxi or, if you dare, the bus.