|Address: Zhongchuan Bridge Zhongchuan Road Tongli
Ancient Town Wujiang Suzhou City Jiangsu Province
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|Tongli, which belongs to Wujiang in Jiangsu Province, is located along the bank of Tai Lake and to the east of ancient canal with eight lakes surrounded. It is 80 kilometers away from Shanghai Hongqiao Airport in the east and 18 kilometers away from Suzhou in the north. Meanwhile, it is adjacent to 318 national highway in the south and Suzhou—Jiaxing expressway in the west as well. The administrative district of Tongli Town, after mergence of Tongli and Tuncun in October, 2001, covers a total area of 102.91 square kilometers and boasts a total population of 58,000 with 12 administrative villages, 1 aquatic product base and 6 community residents’ committees affiliated.Some of the interesting spots of Tongli are listed as below:
1. Tuisi Garden
Tuisi Garden, which was built 1885 AD to 1887 AD, is a significant art work of Jiangnan classical garden. The huge compound of garden, simple and unsophisticated, quiet and elegant, is an area with typical architectural style of Jiangnan Garden in late Qing dynasty. Tuisi Garden boasts unique layout with a complete collection of pavilion, terrace, tower, porch, bridge, hall and house centered by pond as if these architectures are floating on it. The compact and natural layout, plants and sceneries of four seasons contribute to a clear, secluded and bright Tuisi Garden. The profound cultural connotation of Tuisi Garden, together with the long history of Tongli, makes tourists fall into reverie and enlightenment. Therefore in 2001, Tuisi Garden was listed as world’s Cultural Heritage.
2. Three Bridges
Three bridges here indicate Taiping Bridge, Jili Bridge and Changqing Bridge which are arranged in a triangle at the convergences of three rivers, forming ring roads in the town. Especially when the residence of Tongli celebrates marriage, the celebration group will walk across the three bridges full of joy accompanied by hilarious drum music and fireworks, praying aloud,“ peace, auspiciousness and everlasting happiness!”. During the occasion, residents along the street will come out to view the occasion while extending their congratulations. According to the traditional culture of Tongli people, for people who celebrate their 66-year-old birthday, they will certainly walk across the three bridges after lunch for auspiciousness. No one knows when the custom of “walking across three bridges” started, but for Tongli people, three bridges symbolize auspiciousness and happiness.
3. Jianyin Hall
Jiayin Hall, established in 1912, is located in the front part of Youjia Lane in Zhuxing Street. It has four entrances and all the doors, windows and beams are well carved in traditional motif of Chinese people. The main architecture of Jiayin Hall is designed under the imitation of the architectural style of Ming dynasty. Thus, it is commonly referred to as “Gauze Cap Hall”, as the front beam of the building looks like the cap wing in Ming dynasty. The high and spacious court is solemn and grand. The symmetric two sides of five beams are carved with Eight Horses, and the two ends of beams are carved with Phoenix and Peony.
4. Chongben Hall
Located on the northern side of Changqing Bridge in Fu Guan Street, Chongben Hall is built by water facing the south. The group of architectures develops in depth revolving around the axle wire, with five entrances including entrance hall, hall, front building, back building and kitchen. In spite of its small amount of architectures, Chongben Hall is laid out compactly and exquisitely. Various sculptures and carvings have formed the most attractive elements here.
5. South Garden Tea House
Established in early period of late Qing dynasty, South Garden Tea House is of traditional half-timbered structure with four open shops which is of double-storey and decorated with wood carvings of Qing dynasty style with a total area of around 400 square kilometers.
6. Luoxing Islet
Luoxing Islet is a sacred place with the combination of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism as an islet floating on lake in the east of Tongli Town. Tourists only have to spend several minutes getting there by boat. The historic records reveal that Luoxing Islet was originally built in Yuan dynasty and was rebuilt in the reign period of Emperor Guangxu of Qing dynasty.