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Cities and Attractions

Brief Introduction
bullet.gif (69 bytes) Suzhou
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suzhou.jpg (36332 bytes)Founded in 514 BC, Suzhou is known as the Venice of the East. It was named by early travelers because the 40 town was built around a network of canals and 300 crisscrossing bridges that fanned out from the Grand Canal. But it is the natural beauty of Suzhou's 60 classical gardens and famous silk industry that inspired the Chinese to name this area "paradise on earth." The most famous gardens here are the Humble Administrator's Garden (1522 AD), the Lingering Garden (1 525 AD), and the Master of Nets Garden (1140 AD), duplicated at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Other attractions include the Drama Museum, located in a centuries-old courtyard theater that was renovated to house theatrical props and artifacts.

The National Embroidery Institute was established in 1957 to preserve and further the study of silk embroidery, an important activity in Suzhou for more than 1,000 years. Its exquisite embroideries are often presented to foreign dignitaries. Suzhou is located 53 mi. west of Shanghai, less than one hour by train.

Lingering Garden
The 3.3 Hectare wide Liuyuan, meaning the "Garden of Linger In", is, like the Humble Administrator's Garden, one if the four major gardens in China. Construction of this garden commenced during the Jiaqing Reign(1522-1566) of the Ming Dynasty. Among other things, the garden is famed for its awe-inspiring and spacious Nanmu Hall (nanmu is the name of a precious hardwood in China), the elaborate and elegant Hall of Mandarin Ducks, and the Guanyunfeng, the largest Taihu rock even found south of the Yangtze River with its slender form, wrinkled texture and well-perforated structure.

Tiger Hill Pagoda
The seven-storied, octagonal Slanting Pagoda on the top of the Tiger Hill in the northwestern part of Suzhou is also known as Pagoda of the Yunyan(Cloud and Rock) Temple. First built in 959 AD, or the sixth year of the Xiande Reign of the Zhou Dynasty of the Five Dynasties (907-960 AD), it is a brick a la wooden structure in the style of a 47-meter-tall Chinese chamber. Its seven floors diminish in size from bottom to top, and its curving outlines gives the structure a quality which is vigorous and sturdy in a classical fashion.


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