March 14, 2010

Wuzhen (Simplified Chinese: 乌镇; Traditional Chinese: 烏鎮; pinyin: Wūzhèn) is a historic scenic town, part of Tongxiang, in northern Zhejiang Province, China. It lies within the triangle formed by Hangzhou, Suzhou and Shanghai. Wuzhen’s area is 46.5 square kilometers.
Located in the center of the six ancient towns south of Yangtze River, 17 kilometers (10.56 miles) north of the city of Tongxiang, Wuzhen displays thousands of years of history in its ancient stone bridges floating on mild water, its stone pathways between the mottled walls and its delicate wood carvings. Also, setting it apart from other towns, it gives a unique experience through its profound cultural background.
Mao Dun, a renowned modern Chinese writer, was born in Wuzhen, and his masterpiece, ‘The Lin’s Shop’, describes vividly the life of Wuzhen. In 1991, Wuzhen was authorized as the Provincial Ancient Town of History and Culture, it was ranked first among the six ancient towns south of the Yangtze River.
Wuzhen’s uniqueness lies in its layout, being divided into six districts. These are: traditional workshops district, traditional local-styled dwelling houses district, traditional culture district, traditional food and beverage district, traditional shops and stores district, and water township customs and life district. Wandering along the east-west-east circuit created by these six districts, tourists can enjoy the atmosphere of the traditional cultures and the original ancient features of the town that have been preserved intact.

The Former Residence of Mao Dun

 

Mao Dun Museum in Wuzhen
Picturesque canal in Wuzhen
Street in Wuzhen
Originally built in the mid 19th century covering a total area of 650 square meters (7020 sq ft), the former residence of Mao Dun, a well-known Chinese revolutionary writer, was the Mao family home for many generations and witnessed the growth of this great revolutionist and writer. In 1984, the former residence of Mao Dun was renovated and extended to cover a total area of 1,731.5 square meters (18,700 sq ft) – it opened to the public one year later. In 1988, it was listed as one of the Key State Preserved Relic Units and in 1994 was renamed the Mao Dun Museum of the City of Tongxiang. The house has three exhibition areas: ‘Wuzhen, the Hometown of Mao Dun’, ‘the Way of Mao Dun’, and ‘the Former Residence of Mao Dun (renovated)’. The present Mao Dun Museum can be found to the east of the residence, which used to be Lizhi Shuyuan (Aspiration Academy) where Mao Dun spent his early school years.
[edit]Fanglu Pavilion (Pavilion of Visits to Lu)

The renowned Fanglu Pavilion obtained its name from an accidental meeting between Lu Tong, the owner, and Lu Yu, the Patron Saint of Tea in Tang Dynasty (618-907). It is said that Lu Yu once mistakenly ate some poisonous leaves and was rescued by Lu Tong, who happened to collect tea leaves at that time. In return, Lu Yun taught Lu Tong knowledge of tea and tea-making skills, which resulted in the prosperity of Lu Tong’s teahouse. Suggested by one guest, Lu Tong changed the house’s name to Pavilion of Visits to Lu, to memorize this respectable scholar. Located to the south of Ying Bridge and backing onto the city river, the teahouse enjoys a broad view of Guanqian Street and provides visitors with pleasant relaxation.
[edit]Bridge in Bridge

One of the most extraordinary sites in Wuzhen is the “Bridge in Bridge” created by two ancient bridges, one of which is Tongji Bridge crossing the river from east to west and the other is called Renji Bridge running from south to north and joining the former at one end. Either of two bridges can be seen through the arch of the other, hence the name. Having been rebuilt five times, Tongji Bridge is a 28.4-meter-long (93.1ft) and 3.5-meters-wide (11.4ft) one-curvature arch bridge, with a span of 11.8 meters (38.7ft). Renji Bridge, which has also experienced historical repairs, has a length of 22.6 meters (74.1ft), a width of 2.8 meters (9.2ft) and a span of 8.5 meters (27.9ft).
Visitors may enjoy the demonstration in the traditional workshops district of such famous traditional crafts as the printing and dyeing of blue printed fabrics, the primitive technique of cloth shoes and tobacco-planing, and operate the machines yourself to get an idea of how the original work was carried out over 200 years ago. One may also walk amongst the picturesque moss-covered streets and walls, the houses decorated with exquisitely-carved wooden and stone doors and windows, and the leisurely and quiet life of the local people in the district of traditional local-styled dwelling houses. Sink into the atmosphere of traditional culture, have a cup of chrysanthemum tea and relax by bargaining on various kinds of handicrafts and local products.

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