Why is Zhouzhuang Village special?
Famed as one of the most famous water township in China, Zhouzhuang Village is noted for its profound cultural background, the well preserved ancient residential house, the elegant watery views and the strong local colored traditions and customs.
Zhouzhuang Village Highlight
The Brief History of Zhouzhuang
Located in the southeast city of Suzhou and in the southwest of Kunshan county-level city, Zhouzhuang was known as Zhenfeng Lane in ancient times. In the Spring and Autumn Period, Zhouzhuang was a part of the King of Wu and called Yaocheng.
It was called Zhouzhuang after Zhou Digong donated more than 200 acres to local Quanfu Temple on the Yuan Dynasty. On the mid-Yuan Dynasty, Shen Wanshan used the superior geographical advantage to do trade; hence, Zhouzhuang became a distribution center of food, silk, ceramics, arts and crafts in the south of China. It officially named Zhouzhuang town on the beginning of Qing Dynasty.
Scenic and Historical Sites
Celebrated for its notable historical, cultural and architectural value, Zhouzhuang lies its splendid beauty in her many scenic and historical sites such as Twin Bridge, Fu’an Bridge, Shen House, Zhang House, Milou Tower, Chengxu Taoist Temple and so on.
Various lakes and rivers can be seen everywhere in Zhouzhuang as well as many stone bridges across the rivers, of whom the Twin Bridges, also well known as Shuang Bridge in Chinese, are the most famed and are considered as the symbol of this water township.
Built in the Wanli era of Ming Dynasty, the Twin Bridges comprise of Shide Bridge and Yongan Bridge, the former of which is east-west and has a round arch while the latter one is north-south and has a square arch. Crossing the two crisscross rivers (Yinzi Creek and Nabeishi River) and connecting at the middle, the Twin Bridges look like an old-style Chinese key.
Located at the eastern end of Zhongshi Street, Fu’an Bridge was built in 1355 during the Yuan Dynasty. The unique trait of the Fu’an is the consummate combination of the single-arch bridge and the bridge towers which are used as tearooms, restaurants and stores, and are good places to appreciate the views while taking a rest.
Built in 1742 and located at the southeast side of Fu’an Bridge, Shen House (sometimes known as Shen Hall) was the private property of the descendant of Shen Wansan, the first millionaire of Jiangnan (South of Yangtze River) in the early Ming Dynasty.
As the largest residential building in Zhouzhuang, the Shen House is a compound of connecting courtyards, each surrounded by dwelling quarters. It has over 100 rooms of varying sizes, covering an area of more than 2,000 square meters. And the whole building is built after a typical "hall after lobby" building pattern.
The Shen House was classed as a Focus Cultural Relic Unit under State Protection of Jiangsu Province for its imposing appearance, precise layout and exquisite wares.
Located to the south of the Twin Bridges, the Zhang House was built by Xu's family in the Zhengtong era of the Ming Dynasty and bought by Zhang's family in the early Qing Dynasty.
Zhang House has more than 70 rooms and takes up about 1,800 square meters (less than half an acre). With Ruojing River flowing through, Zhang House is a dapper and graceful residential house and has a tranquil courtyard and pond.
Once called the De's Tavern (Deji Tavern), Milou Tower is at the southwest corner of Zhouzhuang. It is famous for being a rallying place of the literators in old times. Numerous poets, songs and stories about Milou Tower are wide spread, making it more charming.
Chengxu Taoist Temple
Standing on Zhongshi Street, Chengxu Taoist Temple was built in Song Dynasty and also known as Sanctity Hall (Shengtang Hall). After several periods of expansion, it is one of the most famous Taoist temples in Wuzhong Region (a district of Suzhou).
In an area of 1,500 square meters (1,800 square yards), simple but majestic Shengdi and Doumu halls, Yuhuang, Wenchang and Shengdi pavilions are really elaborate works and masterpieces of Taoist architectures.