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Tongli Water Town

Tongli is an aged town located a short drive from Suzhou, which is about a hour drive outside of Shanghai. Tongli is over 1000 years old and has only recently been changed into a tourist attraction. The town is characterized by stone bridges and well preserved ancient architecture including private gardens, temples and houses.

15 small river lanes crisscrossed the town, over which spans around 49 stone bridges in variety of styles. Bridges are important parts of the town. 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. Whenever there is an important occasion, such as wedding, people would like to walk through the three bridges, which is supposed to bring peace, fortune and happiness in their lives.

Buildings well preserved from the Ming and Qing Dynasties standing by the rivers fill the town. The traditional gardens are well worth seeing. The Tuisi Garden makes a good example. The garden was constructed between 1885 and 1887 by an imperial scholar. In the garden, pavilions, terraces, halls, rockeries, ponds and other elements of the garden were harmoniously integrated together.