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Suzhou Tour Introductions

Suzhou is a city on the lower reaches of the Yangtze River and on the shores of Lake Taihu in the province of Jiangsu, China. The city is renowned for its beautiful stone bridges, pagodas, and meticulously designed gardens which have contributed to its status as a great tourist attraction. With its 489 sites of cultural significance which enjoy direct protection, either under the national government, the provincial government, or the government of the city itself, Suzhou ranks third in the nation in terms of the sheer number of sites of cultural significance.

The name of the city have been previously transliterated in English in various ways, including Su-chou (Wade-Giles system), Suchow, and Soochow. It is occasionally nicknamed the "Venice of the East" or "Venice of China".

Over 2,500-year-old,much of old Suzhou's architecture and scenery continues to impress visitors with echoes of moonlit walks along the canals through the perfume of osmanthus flowers that time and progress haven't been able to erase. The unique characteristics of the past are still retained in present-day Suzhou. Buildings are laid out in rows facing a narrow street, with their backs to a canal. This unique arrangement spawned an age-old local expression that continues to this day: "little bridge, running water and the household". Strolling the streets, you can feel the unique lingering charm of this landscape left by its long history.

As the saying goes - 'Gardens to the south of Yangtze River are the best in the world, and Suzhou gardens are the best among them'. These gardens attain their high reputation not only for their vast numbers, but also for their charming natural beauty and harmonious construction. At present more than 60 gardens are kept intact in Suzhou, and a series of them have been listed in the World Heritage List, including the Humble Administrator's Garden, the Lingering Garden, the Garden of Master of Nets and the Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty.

As a prosperous city even as it was being founded, Suzhou gave rise to enormous personal wealth that was translated into elaborate private gardens. Zhouzhuang, Mudu, Tongli Town and so on should not be missed by any visitor. In any water township of Suzhou, a number of Ming and Qing dynasty preserved buildings can be found. The natural sights and human landscape enhance each other's beauty, which is a great attraction to visitors who linger there.

Being the cradle of Wu Culture, Suzhou plays a vital role in Chinese cultural history. Many great names and schools of art arose here. For example, the Wumen Fine Arts School is the finest in the history of Suzhou, represented by Shen Zhou, Wen Zhengming, Tang Yin and Qiu Ying, whose poems, calligraphy and paintings are considered to be historical artifacts. Pingtan, Kun Opera and Suzhou Opera are praised as 'three flowers' in the cultural history of Suzhou. Furthermore, embroidery, fans and brocade produced in Suzhou are noted world wide. If you want to explore more on their history visit the museum of Suzhou folk-costume for a complete description.

As one of the famous tourist cities in China, Suzhou has made a great improvement to its basic facilities and tourist functions. Suzhou is accessible by plane, train and bus. Star-rated hotels with good services and reasonable guesthouses and hostels provide a range of lodging. Of course, tasting local delicacies should not be forgotten in your journey. Authentic Suzhou cuisines and snacks can be found in Guan Qian Street, where delicious food and friendly service are memorable. When night falls, Suzhou City is quiet and peaceful. You can enjoy it while sipping a cup of tea in any teahouse.

Suzhou is conveniently located on the Jinghu Railway linking Shanghai and Nanjing, the provincial capital, to both of which there is hourly railway service. Suzhou Railway Station is among the busiest passenger stations in China, having 139 trains stopping daily. The Station is currently being renovated and expanded to serve the needs of the future. It will possibly have similar designs like the Shanghai South Railway Station and Beijing South Railway Station. T-Series Trains only take 45 minutes to Shanghai and an hour and half to Nanjing.

Expressway and Highway
The Jiangsu-Shanghai Expressway connects Suzhou with Shanghai, alternatively, there is also the Yangtze Riverine Expressway and the Suzhou-Jiaxing-Hangzhou Expressway. In 2005, the new Suzhou Outer Ring was completed, linking the peripheral county-level cities of Taicang, Kunshan, and Changshu. China National Highway 312 also passes through Suzhou.

Air Transport
Although Wuxi Shuofang Airport and Guangfu United Airlines Airport serve as two municipal airports, and the State Council approved of the construction of an airport exclusively serving Suzhou in 2003, air transportation from Suzhou continues to be conducted primarily at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport in Shanghai.

Water Transport
By water, Suzhou is connected with Zhangjiagang, Luzhi, Liujia, Changshou and Shimonoseki, Japan.

The Suzhou Metro is currently being constructed, it consist of two independent lines, one running East to West and one running North to South serving Suzhou Industrial Park and Wuzhong Dirstrict. Two lines are scheduled to open in 2011.

Edited by Athena Lee
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