Suzhou is a cultural and historical city 100km west of Shanghai, along the old Grand Canal. Best known for its 150 landscaped gardens, Suzhou's gardens are not known for their size, but their delicate designs, containing hills and ponds, terraces, corridors, towers, and almost everything that is needed in an "Imperial garden". There is a Chinese proverb that says "In heaven there is paradise, on earth there is Suzhou and Hangzhou". The city is dotted with lakes and ponds connected by a web of canals. Suzhou is also known as the silk capital of China. During the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties, it was the silk producing center; in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties most of the high-grade silk produced for the royal families was made by Suzhou silk weavers.
Covering an area of 2.3 hectares, the Lingering Garden is the best preserved among all the Suzhou gardens. Built in the Ming Dynasty, it was renovated and expanded in the early 19th century during the Qing Dynasty. The garden is divided into four sections: artificial hills in the west, pastoral scenery in the north, hall and pavilion structures in the east and hills and waters at the center. A winding corridor of over 1,000 meters links them.
Garden of the Master of the Nets
Sometimes the smallest package can contain the most magnificent gift. The Garden of the Master of the Nets is a clear example of this. It is the smallest of the Suzhou residential gardens, yet it is the most impressive because of its use of space which creates the illusion of an area that is much greater than its actual size. Even more than the architectural achievement is the mood of tranquility and harmony that this humble garden embodies.
Suzhou silk embroidery
With a history exceeding 2,000 years, Suzhou embroidery is considered the "pearl of oriental art" for its beautiful designs, varied stitches, superb workmanship and elegant colors.
Early in Song Dynasty, it was already given the reputation of being "delicate and close in stitch, meticulous and wonderful in colour". By Qing Dynasty, Suzhou embroidery has developed into a period of great prosperity, and "embroidering fair" became one of the flourishing scenes of Suzhou
At 1,764 km in length, this is the longest man-made waterway in the world, as well as being the greatest in ancient China.
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