Located between Shanghai and Suzhou, Zhouzhuang is an ancient town near Kunshan City, Jiangsu Province, where the natural environment abounds with rivers and lakes. Charming Zhouzhuang is over 900 years old, and has kept intact its history. The typical style and features of an ancient town and even the way of life of its inhabitants remain unchanged. All the houses in the town are built near streams with sidewalks along. The murmuring streams under small bridges and courtyards, each surrounded by dwelling quarters, are the typical features of Zhouzhuang and even the whole area of East China.
The Twin Bridge
It consists of the Shide and Yong’s an bridge built between 1573 and 1619, and is situated to the northeast of the town. The area is crossed by the Yinzi and Nanbei rivers, and the bridges are built in one meridional and the other transmeridional, with one quadrate and one round openings. The resemblance to an ancient key has earned the bridge the nickname of Key Bridge.
Chen Yifei, a young artist residing in the U.S., created a picture of “Memories of Hometown” based on the Double Bridge in 1984. The painting, along with other works by Chen, was exhibited and bought by Dr. Amond Hammer, an American oil tycoon, and later presented to the late Deng Xiaoping. The painting symbolizes the friendship, cooperation and peace between the two countries. In 1985, the painting was used on a first day cover issued by the UN, so that more and more people can come to appreciate Zhouzhuang’s beautiful scenery.
Heritages of the Ming and Qing Dynasities
Zhouzhuang has about 1,000 households who live in the old dwelling quarters. More than 60% of the houses were built in the Ming and Qing Dynasties and the early Republic of China, and all are well preserved. Among which there are 100 houses each with a courtyard and 60 with arch gateways made from carved bricks. The houses of both the Zhang and Shen families remain intact and are rated as the best examples in Zhouzhuang for their ancient style.
Shen’s House is located to the southeast of Fu’an Bridge, on Nanshi Street. Built in 1742 during the Qing Dynasty by Shen Benren, a descendant of Shen Wansan who was a man of wealth in southern China in the late Yuan (1206-1368) to early Ming Dynasties, the house consists of seven courtyards, five archways, more than 100 – m – long axis road, covering an area of 2,000 sq. m., offering a unique traditional Chinese architectural style. Zhang’s House is located at the south of the Twin Bridge on Beishi Street. Built between 1436 and 1449 by the offspring of Xu Kui, brother of Zhongshan King Xu Da, it was sold to the Zhang family in the early Qing Dynasty, after which it was called either Yuyan (Jade Swallow) Hall or Zhang’s House. It has six courtyards and more than 70 rooms, covering over 1,800 sq. m.
Delicious food of the Land of Waters
When visitors come to Zhouzhuang, they often see old women drinking tea. All people in the town are fond of tea, but they are fastidious about the way of tea – making. Tea sets must be old and the water is required to be boiled in a pottery jar. The fuel should be bamboo or tree branches. The tea-making ritual is as follows: put some tea leaves in a teapot or cup and pour a little hot water into it and wait for a few minutes, then add more boiled water. When people in Zhouzhuang sample tea, they often as drink as eat melon seeds, crisp beans, candid fruits and pastries etc.. Tea made in this way is known as Granny Tea.
Wansan Pig’s Upper Leg
Zhouzhuang’s most famous dish is Wansan’s Pig Upper Leg. The leg of pork is chosen from among the best and the meat is slowly stewed in a brown sauce over a fire. The cooked pork is very tender and easily boned, and although it looks fatty, it is not greasy, thus suiting to the tastes of all people.
Getting to Zhouzhuang from Shanghai
Shanghai Visitors Bus Line 4
All the buses are air-conditioned and the bus ticket covers the first admission fee and passenger insurance.
Departure times from Shanghai Stadium: 07:00, 09:00,12:00, 14:00. The journey takes approximately one and half hours. (More buses run during holiday periods.)
The last bus back to Shanghai departs Zhouzhuang at 16:30
Contact point & telephone:
Shanghai FIT center (21)6426-5555