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Tongli Town

Tongli Town is located by the Grand Canal and the Taihu Lake, 18 kilometres to the north of Suzhou City, and 6 kilometers west to the county town of Wujiang. It is is a famous ancient site of rivers and lakes. There are 5 lakes surround Tongli from outside, and inside, the town is divided into 15 small islands by more than 10 rivers.
It is a wonderful travel destination for tourists to have a marvelous vacation or to learn about traditional Chinese culture.

The surface of the Tongli Town is in the shape of a rough circle, surrounded by the inner, middle and outer rivers. The town is divided into 7 pieces of land with different sizes, with the water area occupying one-fifth of the total town area. Spanning the river are 49 stone bridges, 29 of them are built from Song Dynasty to Qing Dynasty. Each bridge has a name, which usually reflects the poetic nature of the peaceful local life. the most notable are Peace and Tranquility (Taiping) Bridge, Luck (Jili) Bridge and Lasting Celebration (Changqing) Bridge. The small and exquisite Taiping Bridge was built during the reign of Emperor Jiaqing of the Qing Dynasty; Jili Bridge is an arch bridge, inscribed with age-old couplets describing; Changqing Bridge was originally built in 1470 and rebuilt in 1704. They are known as Ternate Bridges as they cross three rivers at their confluence and form a natural ring road. The local people always walk over them during weddings or birthday parties as auspicious symbols. In addition, The oldest bridge in Tongli is the Siben Bridge, which was built in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), while the smallest bridge is Dubu (Single Step), which is only one and a half meters in length and less than one meter in width.

The streets in Tongli are narrow, simple but elegant. Teahouses, shops and residential houses line one after another. Tongli Town deserves its reputation of a "museum of ancient architectures" as there are good many houses and temples dating from the Ming and Qing Dynasties, which account for almost 40% of all buildings in the town. With their whitewashed walls, black tiled roofs, eaves, carved wooden windows and elegant wood structures, ancient buildings are dominant in the old town. Retreat and Reflection Garden is the most spectacular in Tongli. Covering an area of 6,600 square metres, the garden is shaded by lush elegant trees and embroidered with various bonsais and flowers. Red carp swim in the ponds, and various birds chirp in the woods. One can feel a classical elegance and harmony.

With its long history, cultural background and abundant products, there are a lot of famous persons an Number One Scholar who come from Tongli. Dozens of stone tablets from different periods are preserved in Tongli and many of the streets are named after their official titles. In 1981 and 1982 Tongli was ratified as one of the thirteen national standard tour towns of Taihu Lake region and the sole provincial standard cultural relic protection town of Jiangsu Province. In 1995, it was ratified as the first batch of famous historical and cultural town of Jiangsu Province.



 
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