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Wuzhen Old Water Town

Add:Wuzhen, Tongxiang city, Zhejiang Province

Website:http://www.wuzhen.com.cn

2013-01-30

 

Wuzhen (乌镇) in Tongxiang city, Zhejiang Province has a history of more than 1,000 years. Of the ancient residential houses, workshops and stores still standing on the banks of the rivers, 169,600 square meters, accounting for 81.54% of the town's total floor area have remained unchanged, lending an atmosphere of antiquity.

There are many sites of historical and cutural interest. From the Song (1960 - 1279) through the Qing (1644-1911), Wuzhen produced more successful candidates in the highest imperial examinations than any other town south of the lower reaches of the ChangJiang (Yangtze) River. Bearing witness to the town's emphasis on education is the Lizhi (Aspiration) Academy of Classical Learning of the Qing Dysnasty, which still retains its original appearance. Modern Chinese writer Mao Dun was born in the town in 1896. His family home and school he desind still stand and are open to visitors. There are also eight stone bridges that cross the canal that is one of the central features of the town.

Tradition is still very much alive in Wuzhen. In addition to the flower-drum opera, shadow-puppet shows and temple fairs, Wuzhen also attracts visitors with its time-honored art of making indigo-dyed printed calico. In ancient times, indigo-dyed printed calico was used for curtains, scarves and tableclothes in every household int he countryside of Zhejiang Province. Today, it is still common to see old women in indigo-blue gowns leisurely operatin spinning wheels or looms at weaving workshops in the old lanes of Wuzen, while the squeaks of the looms resound throughout the lanes. Carrying on this tradition has become a part of the lives of the old women.

Wuzhen is at its best on rainy days. Strolling with an umbrella along an old lane past the centuries-old wooden houses and seeing the rain flow off the engraved leaves that cover the doorways is an amazing experience.

Wzhen is relatively small and can be easily seen in a couple of hours. Other highlights are the museums about pawnshops, architectural woodcarving and traditional beds.

 


On both sides of a slabstone-paved street stands pubs, restaurants, pawnshops, weaving and dyeying establishements and other small businesses. All these are housed in wooden structures of brown. Rivers and creeks spanned with stone bridges in various designs flow through the town and the Beijing- Hangzhou Grand Canal passes by this ancient town of Wuzhen (乌镇).

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