Tongli is one of the six ancient towns to the south of the Yangtze River in China and was named “The Oriental Venice” due to its unique water landscape.
Just less then 20 kilometers from Suzhou City and about 80 kilometers from Shanghai, this old town is well preserved with a history of more than 1,000 years. Was open to the public in 1986 and became a travel destination to experience traditional Chinese culture.
Originally named Futu “rich land”, Tongli has unique scenery thanks to its streets, bridges, canals and gardens. Many of the houses and temples are from the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911). The buildings along the banks have distinctive decors: carved windows, porcelain furniture, clay bricks, elegant gardens and stairs leading down to the water.
Surrounded by five lakes, the town is composed by seven islands join together by antique stone bridges. One of its attractions, the Retreat and Reflection Garden, combines unique architecture with delicate and elegant layout and it is in the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Photo credit: © China National Tourist Office, Sue Cantan (Flickr)