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Sū zhōu aka “Venice of the Far East” (苏州) Posted by on Jan 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

Suzhou or 苏州 (Sūzhōu) is a major Chinese city located in the southeast quadrant of Jiangsu Province in Eastern China,  adjacent to Shanghai Municipality. The city is situated on the lower reaches of the Yangtze River and on the shores of Taihu Lake and is a part of the Yangtze River Delta region. Suzhou is a prefecture-level city with an urban population of over 2.4 million and a greater area population of 6 million.

Originally built in 514 BCE, Suzhou has over 2,500 years of rich history, as made evident from the city’s ancient architecture. This includes a patch work of canals, stone bridges, pagodas, and meticulously designed gardens have contributed to its status as one of the top tourist attractions in China. As a result, the preponderance of beautiful waterways and canals has earned Suzhou the moniker “Venice of the Far East”.

Watch youtube slideshow of Suzhou:

History (历史)

Suzhou is the cradle of Wu culture, is one of the oldest towns in the Yangtze Basin. 2500 years ago in the late Zhou Dynasty, local tribes who named themselves Gou Wu (勾吳) lived in the area which would become the modern city of Suzhou. These tribes formed villages on the edges of hills above the wetlands around Lake Tai, their territorial range was centered on Wuxi.

By the time of the Qin Dynasty, the city was known as Wu County. Xiang Yu (项羽) staged his historical uprising here in 209 BC, which contributed to the overthrow of Qin. Later in 1356, Suzhou became of the capital of Zhang Shicheng, one of the leaders of the Red Turban Rebellion against the Yuan Dynasty and the self-proclaimed King of Wu. In 1367 Zhang’s main rival, Nanjing-based Zhu Yuanzhang took the city after a 10-month siege. Zhu – who was soon to proclaim himself as the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty – demolished the royal city (in the centre of Suzhou’s walled city), and imposed crushing taxes on the city’s and prefecture’s powerful families.

Unfortunately many of the ancient relics and architecture from Suzhou was destroyed during the Sino-Japanese war and Japanese occupation. In the 1950’s Suzhou was renovated the reflect the beauty of some centuries prior.

For a photo gallery and video slide show of Tong Li, located on the outskirts of Suzhou click here.

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About the Author: Stephen

Writer and blogger for all things China related. Follow me on twitter: @seeitbelieveit -- My Background: Fluent Mandarin speaker with 3+ years working, living, studying and teaching throughout the mainland. Student of Kung Fu and avid photographer and documentarian.

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