Ancient towns span history and the future

Via:  Buzz of the Orient  •  4 weeks ago  •  5 comments

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Ancient towns span history and the future

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Ancient towns span history and the future

Vibrant culture celebrates rich heritage and draws tourist bonanza as visitors savor the experience


Tourists enjoy a break at the ancient town.[Photo provided by Lan Hongguang/Xinhua]

Throughout many centuries of history, the Grand Canal of China that traverses north and south has nurtured countless towns and villages along its path. These ancient towns, preserved through the ages thanks to their symbiotic relationship with the canal, stand as the finest witnesses and custodians of civilization.

The Grand Canal runs through the heart of Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, stretching more than 110 kilometers, bringing centuries of prosperity and splendor to the region.

Eighteen canal towns in the province, such as Wuzhen, Xitang and Puyuan, have flourished alongside the water, where literary figures like Mao Dun and Feng Zikai once resided, and traditional customs such as silk weaving and stone carving thrived due to the presence of water.

In recent years, Wuzhen and Xitang have each welcomed millions of visitors annually, drawing global attention to the ancient towns in Jiaxing.

Wuzhen is celebrated for its authentic water town scenery and rich cultural heritage accumulated over millennia.


The waterway is regularly monitored in the Puyuan ancient town in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province.[Photo provided by Lan Hongguang/Xinhua]

Although small in size, Wuzhen serves as a bridge between history and the future, China and the world. It is the birthplace of Mao Dun, where contemporary literature seamlessly intertwines with the watertown culture. The Wuzhen Theater Festival brings together artists from around the world to revel in drama, while the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen sheds a technological light on the ancient town.

About 50 km from Wuzhen lies Xitang, famous for its abundance of timeworn bridges, alleys and corridors.

It is also known as the birthplace of Wuyue culture — the regional culture of Jiangnan (south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River), including Shanghai, as well as Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces in eastern China.

Not far from Xitang is the country's "knitwear fashion capital" — Puyuan. The ancient town boasts a knitwear production chain ranging from design, manufacturing to sales and marketing after decades of development.

After years of preservation and development, the fashionable ancient town of Puyuan has opened to the public, showcasing stone bridges reflecting on the water's surface, pavilions lined up in harmony, and the lingering charm of Jiangnan region at every turn.

Since last year, Jiaxing has focused on the core ancient towns of Wuzhen, Xitang, Puyuan and Yanguan, stringing together all 18 ancient towns in the area through comprehensive efforts in conservation, restoration, and innovative development.


A woman finds a peaceful moment with a book in water town Wuzhen, Zhejiang.[Photo provided by Lan Hongguang/Xinhua]



Wearing traditional clothing, a customer relaxes at a Wuzhen teahouse.[Photo provided by Lan Hongguang/Xinhua]



Livestream hosts share their experience of the town.[Photo provided by Lan Hongguang/Xinhua]



A boy interacts with a black swan in Puyuan.[Photo provided by Lan Hongguang/Xinhua]



In a traditional costume, a woman carries a birdcage in Puyuan.[Photo provided by Lan Hongguang/Xinhua]

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Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient    4 weeks ago

There is so much to see, and so little time.  A grand tour of this nation would enable one to get a taste of thousands of years of colourful culture and tradition.   I'm so sorry now I didn't come here years sooner than I did. 

Professor Principal
2  Gsquared    4 weeks ago

Very nice photos accompanying this article.  When I was in China I spent a day in the beautiful ancient water town of Zhouzhuang about an hour outside of Shanghai.  There were a lot of canals and stone bridges.  It was a great experience.  I took some of my best photos from China there.  

Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
2.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Gsquared @2    4 weeks ago

I'm sorry we didn't go there when we were in Suzhou and Shanghai, but we were on our own and not on a tour so we didn't know about it. 

Professor Principal
2.1.1  Gsquared  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @2.1    4 weeks ago

We weren't on a tour, either.   My wife's cousin had been working in Shanghai for 15 years, got married to a Chinese girl and had kids.  We stayed with them for a week in their house in an ex-pat neighborhood.  They took us to Zhouzhuang.  His wife also took us to Suzhou one day while he was working.  Then we  with them went to stay in Nanjing for a few days, Beijing for a week and Xi'an for four days before coming home, although they return had to return to Shanghai after two days in Beijing for work and school.  My wife and I hired a private tour guide for our other days in Beijing and in Xi'an.

Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
2.1.2  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Gsquared @2.1.1    4 weeks ago

Your wife's cousin was able to guide you.  At least we got to see the gardens in Suzhou that you saw as well and we took the nighttime canal tour - I have posted photos of that in the past.  I was on tours for Beijing, the Wall and Summer Palace, and to see the Terra Cotta Warriors and Towers in Xi'an (we were going to do a joint article about that). 


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