Walking in Changzhou, One of China's Richest Cities | Jiangsu Province
Since ancient times, Changzhou has been a place that has produced illustrious people, and many of the most accomplished personages hail from here. It is one of the sites where the Wu culture originated. The ancient relics and structures of Changzhou are in abundance, and places like Tianning Temple, Dongpo Garden, and the historical ruins park of Weidun all manifest Changzhou's profound historical heritage. Nanshan's bamboo forests and the hot springs of Tianmu Lake are both some of Changzhou's precious natural resources. In the Summer you can come cool off and escape the summer heat, while in the winter you can comfortably soak in the hot water.
Most travellers will breeze through Changzhou on their way to Suzhou or Nanjing but those with a bit of time can spend a pleasant day exploring the city's somewhat agrestic charms. 【Geographic Location】 Changzhou, located in southern Jiangsu province, is seated in the center of the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region. The city borders the Yangtze River in the north and the Taihu Lake in the south. It is halfway between Shanghai and Nanjing and neighbors both Suzhou and Wuxi. The city tree of Changzhou is the southern magnolia, and the city flower is the Chinese rose. Changzhou, belonging to the northern subtropical monsoon region, enjoys a warm climate, good weather and distinctive seasons.
There is the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal passing through the city, and the West Taihu Lake, Tianmu Lake, and Changdang Lake scattered in-between like pearls. It is a land of fish and rice south of the Yangtze River, which connected waterways, lakes, and rivers. 【History and Culture】Changzhou is an ancient city with a written history of over 3,200 years and more than 2,560 years of city governance, nurturing many famous people in various spheres of life.
Since the founding of the People's Republic of China, there have been more than 60 academicians from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering coming from Changzhou. 【Tourist Attractions】Changzhou has 36 national A-class scenic spots, including three 5A, eleven 4A, and fourteen 3A attractions. There are also six key villages for rural tourism at or above the provincial level. 【Cultural Heritage】In 2014, the Grand Canal was added to UNESCO' s World Heritage List. Thus, the Changzhou Section of the Grand Canal has become the city's first world-class heritage site.
The city has also preserved the Yancheng Ruins, the Helu Ruins, and several national-level ancient towns or villages such as Jiaoxi and Yangqiao. 【Traditional Crafts】Among many of Changzhou’s folk crafts, there are 13 items on the list of national intangible cultural heritage, including Jintan paper-cutting, Changzhou comb, green-retaining bamboo carving, and random-stitch embroidery. Among them, Jintan paper-cutting has been inscribed onto the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
【Local Foods】Changzhou cuisine, with stir-frying and stewing as the main cooking techniques, highly values the freshness of ingredients, the delicateness of each process and the perfect mix of different flavors. The local cuisine not only possesses the fresh, crisp and tender taste of Huaiyang food, but also integrates the salty, colorful style and thick juices of other cuisines. Changzhou’s catering industry stands out for the tasty dishes, integration of other food cultures, constant innovation and outstanding services.
LILI Town is a charming river town in Suzhou, east China’s Jiangsu Province. Before the Tang Dynasty (618-907), it was known as Lihua Village, which means a village of pear blossoms. According to folklore, the place got its name because it was surrounded by pear blossoms every spring. However, after the Tang Dynasty, local residents fell victim to frequent floods. Luckily, an official named Li solved the problem by dredging the river, earning the gratitude of the people who named the village Lili in his honor.
he first thing that greets the eyes of visitors to Lili is a waterway flanked with ancient dwellings, the roofs of which protrude and form a long veranda. Verandas became popular in Lili during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). Populous and wealthy, the southern Yangtze River region was a business hub. During the Yuan Dynasty, stores emerged on both sides of the waterway in Lili. Business owners built the verandas to shelter passers-by from the sun and rain, as well as to display their signature products.
The verandas integrate elements of commercial culture, folk culture, and architectural culture. In the morning light many scenes illustrate the local life. Housewives begin doing their laundry at the water’s edge. The elderly venture out to catch up with the latest chatter and are occasionally joined by passers-by. Sudden bursts of laughter scare away birds on a tree, and a boatman is illuminated by the light as he pushes his pole into the water. Looking across the water, the shimmering reflection of the black and white staggered houses is dotted with red lanterns, creating a picture postcard scene that delights locals and visitors alike. Revetment and Jetties The solid revetment (retaining wall) in Lili Town is unique. Locals drive piles into the waterbed and then place slabs of stone within the pile structure to build the revetment.
Compared with those made with earth, it is less prone to deteriorate, sink, or slide away. Although it is expensive and labor-consuming, the stone revetment provides a more stable construction. There is a often told folktale about the revetment. A store owner had a daughter who played by the riverside and fell into the water due to loosening slabs.
As a result of the accident, she lost an arm. The father felt guilty that he had not maintained the revetment when it was time to do so. He then figured out how to build a stronger revetment and others followed his method. Jetties in Lili are dense and diverse. There is one almost every 20 steps. In the past, jetties were important to businesses and households.
People loaded and unloaded goods there as well as did their laundry. A writer once wrote, “Jetties were part of the bad old days. At first, they were seven or eight steps above the water. When spring came, the water level rose and reclaimed the steps one by one.
Year after year, we watched as the jetty was lost and regained along with the rise and fall of the water level.”