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Itinerary Name: One Day Essence Suzhou Tour from Shanghai
Day 1
One Day Tour in Downtown Suzhou from Shanghai
Meal:Not included in the quotation
Hotel:No

You will be picked up at your address in Shanghai by your private guide and driver. Drive to Suzhou, "the City of Garden", which is around 100 km / 2 hours drive to the west of Shanghai.

 

The first attraction you will visit is Tiger Hill, the No.1 Sight of Suzhou and the Tiger Hill Pagoda on top of it has been the landmark of Suzhou for over 1000 years. It is a large hillock covering some 14100 square metres (over three acres) and is 36 metres (118 feet) in height. Climbing it, you will find a number of historical sites, some of which can be traced back over 2500 years to the founding of Suzhou. Although the hill is relatively small it has rich history.

    

 

The next place to visit is the very center of the ancient Suzhou city, Xuanmiao Temple (Temple of Mystery) and Guanqian Street. Rignt in front of the temple, the east-west direction Guanqian Street is the most famed and important business pedestrian street in Suzhou.

      

The east-west direction Guanqian Street in front of the temple

    

Xuanmiao Temple (Temple of Mystery) &  the Pure Trinity Hall

 

Covering an area of about 1,125 m2 and 30 m high, the Pure Trinity Hall (San Qing Dian) in Xuanmiao Temple (Temple of Mystery) is the main hall of the temple and built in 1179 in the Song Dynasty. It is the largest wood structure built in Song dynasty in south China. In the hall stand three 17 m high gold-gilded clay statues of the trinity San Qing (three Pure Gods) for people to worship. In the middle is Yu Qing (Jade Pure). On the left and right sides of Yu Qing stand Shang Qing (Upper Pure) and Tai Qing (Great Pure). On the left of the three statues stands a special tablet. An epigraph of Li Longji and the figure of Lao-tzu are both engraved on the tablet. Li (685-762) was an emperor of the Tang Dynasty. Lao-tzu was the founder of Taoism as well as a great philosopher during the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC-476 BC). The figure was drawn by Wu Daozi (680-759), a very famous painter in the Tang Dynasty. 

 

There are some other halls on the two sides, including the Hall of the God of Wealth and the Hall of Wenchang Star in charge of ones wisdom.

 

Tourists can either take lunch in this area or in the nearby Pingjiang Street area. 

 

Pingjiang Historical and Cultural Street Block is located on both sides of the Pingjiang River in the eastern part of the ancient city and with an area of 30.66 hectares. It is the most typical and the best preserved historical and cultural street block in Suzhou. The street pattern has come into being since 13th century. The rivers, bridges, lanes, civilian residences, archways, temples, ancestral temples and halls exist all in harmony, forming an inseparable whole.

 

This street block is a typical section of the double chessboard pattern of the layout of the ancient city of Suzhou - with streets and waterways running parallel. The civilian residences along the streets, with black tiles and whitewashed walls, vary in height. The length the two north-south rivers and four east-west rivers is up to 3.5 kilometers, and there are 13 bridges in the block. It is the street block in the city with the highest density of rivers and bridges. The locations and names of lanes and bridges are basically identical to that contained in the monument inscribed with the Pingjiang Map drawn in the 13th century. Civilian residences along the rivers in the street block connect to one another, forming deep and tranquil lanes.

        

 

Afterwards, tourists will visit Suzhou Museum, which has a vibrant collection of historical and cultural artifacts from Chinas ancient and as well as more modern past. The collection includes 30000 cultural relics - most notably for excavated artifacts, Ming and Qing Dynasty paintings and calligraphy, and ancient arts and crafts.

 

Founded in 1960 and originally located in the national historic landmark, Zhong Wang Fu palace complex, Suzhou Museum has been a highly-regarded regional museum with a number of significant Chinese cultural relics. A new museum designed by world famous architect I.M.Pei was completed in October 2006, covering over10,700 square meter and located at the cross of Dongbei Street and Qimen Road by the side of Zhong Wang Fu palace complex. The design of this new museum visually complements the traditional architecture of Zhong Wang Fu.  


     

New Suzhou Museum by the side of Humble Administrators Garden and Royal Prince Palace

"The Pearl Sarira Treasure House" made in Song Dynasty around 1000 years ago in Suzhou

     

King Ayu Pagoda in Suzhou Museum & Olive Green Porcelain Bowl of the Tang and Five-Dynasties Periods in Suzhou Museum

 

The last and the highlight of this itinerary is the visit to Humble Administrators Garden and Chinese Classical Garden Museum by the side of it. Built in the early 16th century and developed over several centuries, the Humble Administrators Garden is the largest and most famous one of the gardens in Suzhou and its many styles are the representative of the history of classical gardening in Suzhou. Originally designed by Mr. Wen Zhengming - the best painter in ancient Suzhou area and owned Mr.Wang Xianchen, a government official who either retired or was demoted before returning to his hometown. The garden was named from a line in a Jin Dynasty (1700 years ago) poem: "Building a house and planting trees, watering the garden and selling vegetables constitute a humble administrators business". The garden frequently changed owners, each contributing his own vision. During the era of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom in the mid 1800s, the Loyal Prince Li Xiucheng lived here..

  

Water comprises three-fifths of the whole garden which is divided into three parts. The center one takes on its present appearance in the Later Qing dynasty though few original structure in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD) remained. It features mountains and a lake at its center with many of the forty-eight buildings in the garden along its shore.

 

Outstanding with the smart use of ponds, this elegant 5.6 hectare (13.8-acre) garden shows you how traditional Chinese architects and landscapers used pavilions, winding corridors, ponds, rockeries, and trees to create a relaxing harmony.  

    

   

    

The Middle Part of the Humble Administrators Garden

   

The West Part of the Humble Administrators Garden

 

More detail about Tiger Hill at its official website:  http://www.tigerhill.com/

More detail about Guanqian Street at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guanqian_Street

More about Pingjiang Historical and Cultural Street Block at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pingjiang_Road

More detail about Suzhou Museum at its official website: http://www.szmuseum.com/

More detail about Humble Administrator’s Garden at its official website: http://www.szzzy.cn/

  

The last place tourists will visit today is Wang Shi Yuan (Translated as Master of Nets Garden or Garden of the Fisherman). The Garden of the Master of Nets is one of the smallest in Suzhou, yet one of the finest. It is the best protected former private garden with the residential part. It was firstly built in the mid-12th century as the residence of Shi Zhengzhi, a retired government official of the Song Dynasty who named his hall The Fishermans Retreat. He had a library in the garden known as The Hall of 10,000 Volumes. During the reign of Qian Long in the 1700s, Song Zongyuan bought the property and remodeled the gardens and renamed it based on the name of the original hall.

 

The Map of the Master of Nets Garden

  

   

The Middle Part of the Master of Nets Garden 

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The East Part of the Master of Nets Garden

  

The gate  tower in the garden, the best preserved gate tower in Suzhou

 

The beauty of this garden is derived from the exquisite balance of shape, arrangement and form with the buildings, pond and rockeries perfectly arranged. The effect is that the garden looks and feels much larger than it actually is. The west part of it - Dianchunyi Hall area (Peony Hall area) is thought the representative of Chinese classical garden and was even copied and built in the The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

  

   

The West Part of the Master of Nets Garden

     

The Ming House in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City

 

After a enjoyable day in Suzhou, sit back and enjoy a scenic drive back to Shanghai.