Straddling the Jinghang Canal, which connects Suzhou and Shanghai, Zhouzhuang grew prosperous from the area’s tidy trade in cereals, silk and pottery. Many government fat cats, scholars and artisans moved here and built beautiful villas, and poured money into the development of the stone bridges and tree-lined canals that are a legacy of this heady time between the Yuan and Qing eras. Surrounded as well as divided by lakes and rivers, various stone bridges offer amazing views of attractive Zhouzhuang, a town popular with Chinese artists.
The charming Old Town can easily be explored on foot or aboard a boat tour on the canals. Chief sights include the Ming-era Hall of Zhang Residence, which boasts some 70 rooms, and the Hall of Shen’s Residence, with 100 rooms connected to the main hall. Built in the 18th century and located at the southeast side of Fuan Bridge, Shen House occupies an area of more than 2,000 square metres. Over 100 rooms are divided into three sections and arcades and aisles connect each one. The first is the water gate and the wharf. The middle part includes the gate tower, the tearoom and main hall. The last section is a two-storied dwelling that consists of several buildings, which are quite different from the main hall in that they’re more comfortable and refined in pattern and atmosphere.
Zhouzhang is one of China's oldest water towns, comparable to the better-known Suzhou and the town retains the style and pattern of its ancient village.
To get you started with planning your holiday to Zhouzhuang, we have showcased below some popular itineraries requested by our clients which we hope will inspire your visit to China
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