Luzhi Old Town

Located in Wuzhong District, 18 kilometers east of Suzhou in east China's Jiangsu province, Luzhi is an old but extremely beautiful water town. With a history of more than 1400 years, it compares favorably to Zhouzhuang Town. Covering just one square kilometer, it has been awarded the great name of "No.1 water town in China". In 2003, the Chinese government published a list of "Ten Famous Chinese Historical Townships", with Luzhi featured on this list. In 2004, Luzhi was awarded a Township Preservation Award by UNESCO.

The natural beauty of the water town is indescribable. The old stone bridges, limpid water, venerable maidenhair trees and old-style dwellings, as well as the traditional women's costumes, create an ideal, civilized, rich, pastoral and harmonious environment. A walk in the ancient town Luzhi is said to be a walk into history frozen in time, tranquil and serene. In addition, Luzhi town is noted for several historic and cultural relics, such as Baosheng temple, the Wansheng Rice Company and the White Lotus Flower Temple of the North Song dynasty.

The town's most notable features are its numerous quaint stone bridges, which were built in the Song (960-1276), Yuan (1271-1368), Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1912) dynasties. Owing to that, Luzhi deserves its reputation as a 'Museum of Chinese Ancient Bridges'. At one time, there were 72 bridges in the tiny town; 41 still exist and are well preserved. All the bridges are different in design and style, among which Zhengyang Bridge and Dongmei Bridge are considered especially noteworthy.

Another feature of the town is the distinctive traditional costumes worn by the women. Both clothes and trousers are characteristically pieced together using different cotton materials in a variety of designs. In addition to wearing these clothes, local women are accustomed to wearing colorful kerchiefs and embroidered shoes. Women wearing folk costume, sitting in front of traditional residences or ancient maidenhair trees, are the unique scene in Luzhi. With tranquil and pristiGarden of Cultivation

Started to be built during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), the Garden of Cultivation (Yipu Garden) is a small scale garden with artistic characteristics of the Ming dynasty. The entire garden's layout is plain and open, with a natural and simple style; not overly elaborate and affected. Its artistic value is much higher than Later Qing gardens. The layout of mountains and waters, pavilions, terraces and buildings, as well as the detailed arrangement of a single rock and a single tree express is simple, unsophisticated and elegant attributes. 

The pond in the middle of the garden occupies one fourth of the total area. It features "mountain scenery" to the south of the pond and buildings to the north. The pond has a roughly rectangular shape with coves at the southeast and southwest corners, which are spanned by low, flat and small bridges. On the east and west banks of the pond are roofed and open-sided galleries, pavilions, rocks and trees, serving transitionally as a foil to the northern and southern scenes. At the southeast corner of the pond is the Fry Pavilion that dates from the Ming Dynasty. A moon gate in the wall that borders the pond and the mountains leads to a small garden court on the southwest. The 6-pillar-wide Water Pavilion of Longevity lies to the north of the pond, overlooking the broad expanse of water, and is the biggest water pavilion at Suzhou. To the north of the water pavilion is the 6-pillar-wide Hall of Erudition and Elegance in the style of the Ming. The Garden of Cultivation, simple, rustic and natural, still keeps much of the layout, design principles and other characteristics of the Ming garden. There are 13 buildings, 17 tablets and parallel couplets, 8 steles and stone carvings, and many valuable old trees. The beauty, ancient Luzhi never fails to impress every visitor there. Undoubtedly, these lovely local women wearing traditional Luzhi-style costumes add freshness and loveliness to the water town, like a beautiful landscape picture. 

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