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Ancient Town of Tongli

Situated east to the ancient canal on the bank of the Taihu Lake, Tongli is 18 kilometers from Suzhou City, and 80 kilometers from Shanghai. In ancient times, Tongli was called Fushi. It was changed to Tongli in the early years of the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

Tongli is famous for its large numbers of architectures built in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, small bridges and celebrities as well as persons of ideals and integrity.

In Tongli, there are 38 residential gardens, 47 temples and several hundred former residences of landowners and celebrities of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Tongli used to have more than twenty natural views, but only some remained extant. Among them, the Tuisi Garden is the representative one, which has been listed as one of the substitutes of cultural heritage in the world.

Surrounded by water on four sides, Tongli is inlaid in the area of five lakes, and is thus abundant in small bridges. The town is divided into seven islands by 15 small rivers while the 49 ancient bridges link up them to form an integral whole. Many buildings are constructed beside water; hence Tongli is reputed as Little Venice in the Oriental. It is the best-preserved ancient watery town in Jiangsu Province, and a key cultural relics site under the protection of the province. In 1995, it was listed by the provincial government as one of the first batch famous historical and cultural towns. It is one of the thirteen major scenic areas around the Taihu Lake. 

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