A brief introduction of Tongli
Tongli in Jiangsu Province is one of the many ancient water towns in the south of the Yangtze River Delta, which are famous for their rivers, ancient bridges and house complexes. Tongli occupies an area of 51 square miles (133 square kilometers) with a population of 55,000. The city is separated by 15 rivers into seven islets, which are connected through 49 ancient bridges. The most famous bridges among the 49 bridges in Tongli are the three bridges called Taiping (peace), Jili (luck) and Changqing (celebration) bridges, which has been important landmarks of the place and regarded as the sacred architecture by the locals. Tongli is located a short drive from Suzhou and about an hour drive outside of Shanghai.
History of Tongli
Tongli, established in the Song Dynasty, has a history of over 1,000 years. It is very rich in cultural heritage. Traditional residences including gardens, houses and temples, built in the Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty, are the highlight of the city. Jiayin Hall built in 1922 is known for its fine carvings on the structure. Congben Hall built in 1911 is also known for its carvings on the structure. There are more than one hundred of well-preserved woodcarvings of traditional figures from Chinese classics. In 2004, Tongli together with Zhouzhuang and Luzhi were listed in the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage Sites. With the rapid modernization of China, large number of historical towns disappeared under the bulldozers, with only a handful of well-preserved historical townships remaining today.
What to see
Main Attractions in Tongli
Residential House: Tongli Water Town deserves its name of a “museum of ancient architectures” as there are many homes and temples dating from the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Designed along the riverside and embellished with carved windows, porcelain furniture, figured clay bricks, flying eaves, dapper gardens and tiny stairs leading all the way down to the water, these complexes named Tongli Water Town could be a shining pearl among the water townships south of Yangtze.
Retreat and Reflection (Tuisi) Garden: designed by the retired official Ren Lansheng throughout 1885 and 1887, is that the most spectacular in Tongli Water Town. Its name, Tuisi, suggests being meditative upon the previous faults when away from officialdom. The ingenious style for Tuisi Garden conforms to the native landforms and conditions and covers 700 square meters. Compact and harmonious, the garden is made from two parts. The garden within the east has verandas, ponds, waterside pavilions, Marble Boats, halls, kiosks, rockeries and bridges. In conjunction with flourishing trees and colorful flowers the garden greets guests with its beauty and charm regardless of the season. The residential area to the west consists of an outer house and inner house together with the tea hall, the sedan hall, 2 buildings forming the particular dwelling and a main reception hall.
Ancient Bridge: Taiping Bridge was built in 1747 during the Qing dynasty. Changqing Bridge, also named Guangli Bridge, was rebuilt by Xiezhen in the Ming dynasty. Siben Bridge, built in the Southern Song dynasty, is the oldest bridge in Tongli town. Dubu Bridge, 5 feet in length and 3 feet in width, is the smallest bridge in the town.As a character of Tongli, these ancient bridges today is reputed as the witness of the history, telling the story of the past.
You may follow the routes to get to Tongli from the neighboring provinces and cities.
Tongli is located in the east of ancient canal on the shore of Taihu Lake, 18 km away from Suzhou city. 100 km away from Shanghai.
Entry Fee: RMB100.00, free for child under 1.2Meters. Night tour: RMB50 (include the Tuisi Garden only)
Open: 07:30am - 09:00pm, Night tour: 06:30pm - 09:00pm (Friday-Sunday)
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