... map & Ticket
Located in north Jiashan County, Zhejiang Province, Wuzhen is one of the ancient water towns in the south of the Yangtze River. Wuzhen has become a popular destination recently because of a new TV show called 'Shi Shui Nian Hua,' which was shot in Wuzhen.
Wuzhen Town located in Tongxiang City, Zhejiang Province. It has a history about 1300 years. With advantageous traffic conditions, it has been a flourishing town where merchants gathered since the early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the Qing Dynasty (1616-1911). Mao Dun (1896-1981), a modern famous literator, was born in Wu Town. His former residence is now kept as a key site of historical value under provincial protection.
On both sides of a slabstone-paved street stand pubs, restaurants, pawnshops, weaving and dyeing establishments, and other businesses, all housed in wooden structures of brown. Rivers and creeks spanned with stone bridges in various designs flow through the town, and the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal passes by. Old waterside houses and outside corridors can be found here and there. This is the ancient town of Wuzhen.
Wuzhen, a town with a history of 1200 years, is just 50 minutes' drivefrom Hangzhou City. This small town, with its black tiled, tung oilpainted timber framework houses, that contrast sharply with its white walls and gray flagging,brings to mind a Chinese ink and wash painting. The river running through the town was once the main means of transportation for local people, but these days is little used, other than for festive celebrations, when bulk cargo is shipped in. The window sills of the houses on the banks of the river are further extended with boards, on which flowers, plants and bonsai bloom in the warm sunshine, adding a touch of life and color to this tranquil, oldstyle town.
Local residents pay little attention to tourists, preferring to get on with their work, or to pass the time of day with their neighbors. The elderly like to gather in the pavilion at the head of the bridge, and talk over everyday matters.
There are some well preserved Ming and Qing dynasty buildings in the town, formerly the homes of those rich enough to escape me social turbulence of past centuries, and who chose Wuzhen as the place to build them or its out-of-the-way location and convenient transportation. There are several ancient villas and gardens in the town, of which the Zhu Family Hall is the most famous. Built in the !ate Qing Dynasty, the house has two stories, each with a hall floored in square bricks -- unusual for civil buildings in south China at that time. The Xu Family Hall is noted for the carvings that decorate every wooden section of its structure, and it has consequently been converted into a wood carving and architectural museum. The Jin Family Hall and the adjacent Wang Family Hall combine to form the Wuzhen Folklore Museum. where visitors may see exhibits and displays of local customs when celebrating weddings. birthdays and festi- vals.
In the town center is a small square with a high stage.The actors, mostly local peopleI , perform Shaoxing, Peking and flowerdrum operas, all for tree. as members of the audience mill around the square, cominco and going as they please. It is said that perfor mances were origi- nally dedicated to the gods wor- shiped in the Xiuzhen Temple. opposite the stage. One of the three most renowned Taoist temples in south China. the Xiuzhen Temple has been destroyed and rebuilt several times in its histo- ry. and lost much of its former splendor in the process. A giant abacus, rather than a tablet. hangs over its gate. engraved on both sides with the couplet: "Man may have one thousand schemes, but God has just one disposition." Another noteworthy feature 1.000-year-old gingko tree.
Wuzhen is at its most picturesque in the rain. Passing by the centuries-old wooden houses, lingering along the old streets and lanes, visitors can almost breathe in the serenity and subtle beauty of the ancient water town.
It is not only the scenery that makes Xitang so attractive, much of its appeal lies in the easygoing lifestyle the locals have enjoyed for thousands of years. It is a wonderful experience for people from big cities to spend a few days enjoying the ordinary and peaceful life of a place like Wuzhen. Many local residents in the small town breed silkworms and raise chrysanthemums, and they retain the tradition of buying fruit and vegetables from trade boats through the windows of their waterside houses.
In May 1999, the local government invested 200 million yuan for maintaining and improving the town environment. The project is to be completed by 2004, and the first phase, with an investment of 80 million yuan, was finished in 2001. While taking care to retain the originl appearance of the town, improvements have been made in the treatment of the water environment and the management of sanitation.
In 2001, it was listed as the World Culture Heritage Sites.