Alec Hills - Aug 9, 2010

Situated on the banks of the Yangtze River are the famous Chinese water towns, of which many date back as far as 1,000 AD. They are most known for its unique architecture and numerous antique buildings that have remained almost the same as when they were built many years ago. The towns are very popular among the tourists as they claim they can “breathe” the atmosphere of the old days there. brings you the information about six ancient Chinese water towns based on the list presented by HotelClub Travel Blog.


Zhouzhuang is the most prominent water town from the six that were built along the Yellow River. It is also known as "Venice of the Orient" and dates back to 11th century. The most famous tourist attraction of the town is one of the Zhouzhuang's 14 stone bridges - Double Bridge. However, there are many other interesting places that tourists can admire. Beautiful whitewashed houses with black-tile roofs and red doors and windows, which can be found along the waterways, are fine examples of traditional Suzhou architecture.  


Having more than 81% of buildings that date back to ancient times and unique local culture, Wuzhen has been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site. It also is the most well preserved water town from the six. To tourists it may look as if the time stopped here long time ago. Local people lead uncomplicated life. They keep their ancient traditions without paying any attention to technological progress. They buy their food through the windows right from trade boats and local craftsmen practice their business in the same way as their ancestor did 1.000 years ago.


Xitang, yet another water town, is well-known for its covered arcades and numerous picturesque lanes and bridges. The town goes back to the period between 476 BC - 221 BC and has a great number of striking buildings that originate in the Ming and Qing dynasties. Tourists are most attracted to the Covered Corridor in Xitang because of its charming architecture. It is also quite practical as it serves as a shelter from both boiling sun and torrential rain. Whatever the weather, tourists can rest there and enjoy a nice cup of coffee or a refreshing glass of ice-cold water while watching the bustle on the river.


Featuring some of the most spectacular sights in the world, Tongli is the most romantic from the six water towns. It is divided into seven islands that are connected with 49 arched stone bridges. Each section of the town offers amazing views of antique waterfront houses and 15 canals, which separate the islands, are lined with green willows. Many tourists are also attracted by the large number of old houses and temples that originate in the Ming dynasty.


Zhujiajiao is situated in the west of Shanghai and is one the most well preserved ancient towns in the area. When you grow tired of the busy life and impersonal skyscrapers of Shanghai, Zhujiajiao is the perfect place to escape to. The atmosphere is much calmer here. The town features beautiful bridges and old houses built in ancient Chinese architecture that goes back to the Ming and Qing dynasties. Tourists appreciate the most the centuries-old North Street that has some of the most amazing examples of ancient architecture.


Nanxun, though not so old as the other water towns (approximately 700 years old), attracts tourists with its spectacular gardens. The Small Lotus Garden goes back to the late Qing Dynasty and has some fine examples of orchids. Together with the Jiaye Book-Collecting Hall, which is full of exotic flowers of different colors and shapes, they are considered the most famous gardens of Nanxun. The gardens are not the only attraction of the town. Local architecture is also very interesting to explore as its buildings have remained in almost their original shape in spite of the fact that the town has withstood many wars.

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