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Shantang Street Guide

-Travel to Shantang Street

Shantang Street is located in the northwest of Suzhou, linked with Changmen in the east where aristocracies pursued pleasures, Huqiu in the west, “the No.1 place of interest in the Wuzhong District”. It was built by digging the river and constructing dams in 825 A.D. when Bai Juyi, one of the most famous poets in Tang Dynasty, took the post of Suzhou Cishi (feudal prefectural governor). Owing to its distinguished geographic location and convenient water and land transportation, Shantang Street was one of the streets which trade and culture were most highly developed in Ming and Qing dynasties, regarded as “the No.1 Ancient Street in China”.

The renovated Shantang Street becomes the place which shows the essence of natural views and human landscapes of Suzhou, which is rated as “the miniature of old Suzhou and the window of Wu culture”. The Shantang Street parallels with the waterway. Along the street stand a good many stores and halls which have delicate and graceful styles and scatter properly. All of above present the street’s prosperity again. There is a folk song, singing “There is a paradise in heaven, but there are Suzhou and Hangzhou on the earth. Hangzhou has the West Lake while Suzhou has Shantang. Both are good places with boundless sceneries”, which is the vivid image of Shantang.

More than 1,000 years old, this street is lined with traditional Suzhou-style architecture; half is a business and residential area while the other half is much quieter. Along the street, red lanterns blow in the breeze, making it quite a tranquil place to stroll. Along the busier half, visitors will find plenty of snack stalls selling little cakes, dumplings, and rice dishes.
At the east end of Shantang Old Street, there are many stores and dwellings standing in rows, creating a picture of a bustling market. Meanwhile, the west end of the Shantang street is embraced by frondent plants and several places of interest, such as "five tombs", "Tomb Gexian" and other monuments. There are six recommanded sites on the street: Jiangnan Cloth Museum of Ming and Qing Dynasty, Antai Jiuhuo Hui, Old stage, Tingzhou Hall, Old Suzhou Teahouse and Former Residence of Wu Yipeng (a famous scholar in Ming Dynasty). While strolling on Shantang Old street, you could visit old temples, conventional shops, and taste traditional yummy delicacies of Suzhou.

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