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Suzhou City -- heaven on earth

0 CommentsPrint E-mail, March 19, 2010
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The 2010 Shanghai World Expo, which starts in May this year, will draw exhibitors from around 200 countries and international organizations around the world.

Meanwhile, the grand event will also attract at least 70 million tourists from home and abroad to visit Shanghai and its surrounding areas. In today's On the Road, we are going to take a trip to one of the neighbors of Shanghai, the famous tourist city known in China as "heaven on earth."

Suzhou is situated in the central part of the Yangtze River Delta in Jiangsu province in east China. East of the city of Shanghai, Suzhou borders Zhejiang province to the south, Taihu Lake to the west, and the Yangtze River to the north, the longest river in the country.

By dividing the ancient city and the new industrial park, Suzhou's old city has remained well-preserved.

Located to the south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the old Suzhou proper enjoys a worldwide reputation for its delicate and classical gardens. Most of the gardens were built for private use by aristocrats and rich businessmen, and date back to the sixth century BC.

Garden design went through an active period during the Ming dynasty which began in the middle of the 14th century. By the latter years of the Qing dynasty some 100 years ago, a large number of classical gardens had spread across Suzhou into its suburbs. Ten of these gardens are still in a good state of preservation.

Famous gardens in Suzhou include Zhuozheng Yuan, or the Humble Administrator's Garden, Liu Yuan, or the Lingering Garden, Wangshi Yuan, or the Garden of the Master of the Nets, Huanxiu Shanzhuang, or the Villa with Embracing Beauty, and Canglang Ting, or Blue Wave Pavilion, to name just a few.

Another major attraction is Shantang Street, one of the major and busiest areas in the city. Dubbed 'Suzhou's first street', it boasts various shops, tea houses and typical local style residences, all delicately designed. Even at night, the lantern decorated street is filled with visitors. Suzhou Pingtan, a ballad sung in the local dialect, can be heard from the tea houses and cinemas.

Huang Enling is a tourist from Singapore.

"Suzhou is a picturesque city with wonderful scenery. It is a really wonderful experience to be in the ancient city."

After experiencing the night life in Shantang Street, you may want to sit quietly and have a cup of tea or enjoy the melodious sound of Suzhou Pingtan.

As well known as Peking Opera, Suzhou Pingtan is one of the top operas in China and enjoys a wide audience. Teahouses such as Qiantang , Chun Lei, and Tian Shui located downtown, provide the best performances and are easy to find.

While preserving the old city, Suzhou municipal government has also carried out an urban construction program which provides comprehensive development space to the new industrial park.

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