Wuzhen

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The canals of Wuzhen have led to it being nicknamed the "Venice of the East."[1]
Jugs of distilled rice liquor at a distiller in Wuzhen

Wuzhen (simplified Chinese: 乌镇; traditional Chinese: 烏鎮; pinyin: Wūzhèn) is a historic scenic town, part of Tongxiang, located in northern Zhejiang Province, People's Republic of China. It lies within the triangle formed by Hangzhou, Suzhou and Shanghai. Covering an area of 71.19 km2 (27.49 sq mi), Wuzhen has a total population of 60,000, of which 12,000 are permanent residents.[2]

Location[edit]

Located in the centre of the six ancient towns south of Yangtze River, 17 kilometres (11 mi) north of the city of Tongxiang, Wuzhen displays its history through its ancient stone bridges, stone pathways and delicate wood carvings.

Notable people[edit]

Mao Dun, a renowned modern Chinese revolutionary writer, was born in Wuzhen, and his well-known work, 'The Lin's Shop', describes the life of Wuzhen. In 1991, Wuzhen was authorized as the Provincial Ancient Town of History and Culture and ranked first among the six ancient towns south of the Yangtze River.[citation needed]

Town layout[edit]

Wuzhen is divided into six districts. These are: the traditional workshops district, the traditional local-styled dwelling houses district, the traditional culture district, the traditional food and beverage district, the traditional shops and stores district, and the water township customs and life district. Following an east-west-east circuit created by these six districts, visitors can witness reenactment of traditional practices and cultures.

The former residence of Mao Dun[edit]

Mao Dun Museum in Wuzhen
Picturesque canal in Wuzhen
Street in Wuzhen
20090913 Wuzhen 5129.jpg

Originally built in the mid 19th century and covering a total area of 650 m2 (7,000 sq ft), the former residence of Mao Dun, was the Mao family home for many generations. In 1984, the building was renovated and extended to cover a total area of 1,731.5 square metres (18,638 sq ft), opening 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 lies to the east of the residence, which was formerly the Lizhi Shuyuan (Aspiration Academy) where Mao Dun spent his early school years.

Fanglu Pavilion (Pavilion of Visits to Lu)[edit]

The Fanglu Pavilion obtained its name from an accidental meeting between Lu Tong, the owner, and Lu Yu, the Patron Saint of Tea, during the 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 Yu taught Lu Tong knowledge of tea and tea-making skills, which resulted in the prosperity of Lu Tong's teahouse. At the suggestion of one guest, Lu Tong changed the establishment's name to the Pavilion of Visits to Lu, in memory of this respected scholar. Located to the south of Ying Bridge and backing onto the city river, the teahouse enjoys a broad view of Guanqian Street.

Bridge within a Bridge[edit]

The "Bridge within a Bridge" is a scenic attraction created by two ancient bridges, the Tongji Bridge which crosses the river from east to west and the Renji Bridge running from south to north that joins 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 metres (93 ft) and 3.5 metres (11 ft) one-curvature arch bridge, with a span of 11.8 metres (39 ft). Renji Bridge, which has also undergone repairs during its history, has a length of 22.6 metres (74 ft), a width of 2.8 metres (9.2 ft) and a span of 8.5 metres (28 ft).

Demonstration in the traditional workshops district display traditional crafts as the printing and dyeing of blue printed fabrics, the primitive techniques of cloth shoe making and tobacco-planing. Visitors may operate the machines to get an idea of how the original work was carried out over 200 years ago. The local houses here are decorated with carved wooden and stone doors and windows.

Photo gallery[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 30°44′46″N 120°29′44″E / 30.74611°N 120.49556°E / 30.74611; 120.49556