The former Venice of the East
Suzhou is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in China. Far away from traffic and gas-laden air, such an enchanting landscape spreads out here that you think you’re on another planet. The classic gardens of Suzhou, which were built around 1100, are responsible for this.
If you have the opportunity to stop off in Jiangsu Province, a region on the Yellow Sea, on your study trip through China, you should not miss a visit to Suzhou. The city, which was once famous as the Venice of the East because of its many canals, seduces with gardens that are much more than a collection of beautiful plants, lawns, trees and bushes.
The classical gardens of Suzhou are botanical works of art, garden compositions that exert a unique charm on their visitors. In these gardens, landscapes are depicted in which the culture and nature of the country are reflected in a unique way. Harmony and metaphysics, peace and tranquility have a very special meaning there. Surrounded and framed by stone terraces, enchanted courtyards, romantic pavilions, bizarre rocks and graceful bridges, exotic flowers grow, tendril evergreen trees and bushes, and bamboo and ferns of unimagined size grow.
There were over 100 such green oases in Suzhou. Of the 60 or so remaining gardens, nine were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997 and are also open to the public. All gardens have names that indicate their purpose. Such as the “garden of the humble official”, a three-part park. This unique landscape is owed to a censor who was displaced and commissioned this facility in the 16th century. In the “garden of the master of the nets”, which was created in the 18th century, the focus is a square pond, surrounded by imaginatively cut trees and bushes. In contrast to other systems, there are dense buildings here. Not only pavilions and walkways can be found there, but also a library.
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Shanghai is one of the most famous and largest cities in China. The city of 14 million inhabitants in the east of the country, which annually attracts many millions of visitors from all over the world, has numerous sights to offer. One of the city’s main attractions is the 30-meter-high Shanghai Museum, one of the most important art museums in China and the fourth largest museum in the whole country. Opened in 1952, the museum in central Shanghai has ten different galleries. Here visitors will find an extremely exciting cross-section of Chinese art that is thousands of years old. In total there are more than 120,000 different small and large exhibits in the Shanghai Museum. One of the world-famous highlights of the museum is the extensive collection of bronze pieces, whose origins go back to the 18th century. Century BC. Anyone interested in the origins of Chinese architecture from the Ming and Manchu dynasties is also in the right place at the Shanghai Museum. In addition, numerous valuable exhibits from ancient Chinese calligraphy as well as ancient Chinese coins and pictures can be seen in the impressive museum. The Shanghai Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entry costs 60 renminbi yuan (about 8.16 euros). The museum can either be explored “on your own” or as part of a guided tour.
The city of Hangzhou in eastern China attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world every day. After all, the metropolis is peppered with numerous sights and attractions, both large and small. One of the most popular excursion destinations in the entire region is the West Lake. There are numerous myths and legends about the lake, which is known far beyond the Chinese borders. The lake, which is up to two meters deep, was created during the Tang Dynasty. The West Lake is divided into three individual sections by two man-made impressive dams – the Baidi Dam and the Su Dam. In the middle of the West Lake is the island of Xiao Yingzhou, known as the “Little Paradise Island”. The three small stone pagodas that protrude from the lake should not be missing on a trip to the West Lake. These are lit by candles at night, so that an impressive reflection is created on the lake. The best way to explore the lake is with the traditional Westsee rowing boats. There is a very special atmosphere around the West Lake. While walking around the lake, tourists and locals will find other small temples and pagodas. The region around the West Lake is characterized by breathtaking natural landscapes. You should definitely pay a visit to the famous Longjing tea plantations near the lake.