Ancient Towns Around Shanghai: WU ZHEN

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Wuzhen is famous for its residences dating from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and the town keeps its ancient ambience, as if time has stood still. Wuzhen is also famous for its traditional craft of “bed-making,” exquisite examples of which can be seen in the Museum of Antique Beds. Other attractions include the elaborate painting of 24 filial sons of old times in the Zhu Family House, and depictions of traditional ceremonies, such as those for babies when they were one month old, weddings and the birthdays of the elderly -- all illustrative of the culture of southeast China. The Xizha district of the town has old houses and pavilions stretching over 1,000 m along river banks. Piled up in the courtyard of the Gaogongsheng Distillery are numerous jars filled with rice wine, scenting the air with a heady aroma. At the Hongyuantai Dye Works, immensely long pieces of indigo-blue printed cotton are hung high in the air to dry. Wuzhen is also home to the Xiuzhen Taoist Temple, one of the three most renowned ones in southeast China. Huge in side, the temple holds great appeal to worshippers far and wide. In front of the temple is an ancient opera stage, where performances are given all the year round. In addition, Prince Zhaoming’s Study and the Former Residence of Mao Dun (pen name of Shen Yanbing, a famous contemporary writer in China and late vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress –ed.) attract many people interested in Chinese language and literature.
Table of Contents
006 The Tranquil Town of Wuzhen
016 Riverside Scenery
028 Styles of Old Bridges
042 Former Residence of Mao Dun
052 Fangluge Teahouse and "Three-Whites" Wine
064 Xiuzhen Taoist Temple and Ancient Stage
074 Old and Famous Residences
088 Indigo-blue Cotton Prints
096 The Beauty of Xizha by the River
104 Scenery by the Water Market
114 Gourmet Specialties
123 Scenic Spots
125 Accommodation
126 Local Delicacies
128 How to Get to Wuzhen
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Sample pages of Ancient Towns Around Shanghai: WU ZHEN (ISBN:9787119061665)
Sample pages of Ancient Towns Around Shanghai: WU ZHEN (ISBN:9787119061665)
By the river in Dongzha there are two corridors eachwith a full awning, one on South Street and the other onNorth Street, winding afar. There are many workshopsand snack bars on both sides of the river. Tourists alllove to sit by windows with views of the river. Age-oldhouses or the sight of women washing clothes by the rivermay remind you of lines from a poem by a Chinese poetcalled Bian Zhilin: Standing on a bridge you aresightseeing./People sitting in their houses are looking atyou./The bright moon adorns your window, and youenrich the dreams of others."
You will see many historical sites along the rivers. Thereis a storied building named Wenchang (Culture andProsperity) Pavilion in front of Lizhi School. In betweenis a narrow lane called Guanqian Street. In the olden days,a scholar usually took a boat to Wenchang Pavilion, ac-companied by his pageboy. The boat would be berthedright beside the building when the scholar went upstairsto read or study. His pageboy sat on the bench in thecorridor waiting for him. At the end of the Qjng Dynasty,when the imperial examination system was abolished,Wenchang Pavilion became a place for the locals to spendtheir leisure time, and a place where all kinds of newswas gathered and shared. Do not stop your stroll yet. Going along the river toXizha, you will glimpse from afar Bailiansi Pagoda, whichhas had a remarkable history. It is said that there is "oneTaoist temple, two pagodas, nine Buddhist temples and13 Buddhist nunneries" in Wuzhen. The Taoist templerefers to Xiuzhen Temple in Dongzha, and one of the twopagodas is this Bailiansi Pagoda.
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