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Established by the Song Dynasty, Tongli water village showcases over 1,000 years of history and cultural heritage. There are 49 ancient bridges of the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties that join the town into an integrated whole. Three of them have become the cultural symbols of the town.
There are also many traditional gardens in Tongli. Behind a small and unassuming doorway lies the UNESCO World Heritage Site Tuisi Yuan, a true masterpiece among Jiangsu gardens.
You will be picked up from your hotel and taken in an air-conditioned individual vehicle for a sightseeing tour of the waterside town of Tongli. An English-speaking tour guide will accompany you on this tour. The distance between Shanghai and Tongli is approximately 80 kilometers.
Arrive in Tongli. This picturesque ancient town, located north of the Shangyuan Canal (Shangyuan Gang), consists of seven islets which are connected to each other by over 40 arched stone bridges and criss-crossed by some 15 canals. Though this water town dates to the Song Dynasty, many of its surviving residences and mansions belong to the Ming and Qing periods.
The highlights of this waterside town are:
Tuisi Garden or (Retreat and Reflection Garden): This is a classical garden built during the Qing Dynasty by a dismissed official. This UNESCO World Heritage garden is laid out from west to east in three sections, with the family's residences in the west, meeting and entertaining rooms in the centre, and a small landscaped garden in the east. Stroll the pavilions, terraces, halls, rockeries and ponds and experience the harmony of the garden.
Chong Ben Hall: This residence has four courtyards and three doorways, and its main attraction is the refined brick, stone, and wood carvings of scenes from Chinese literary classics all over the building. Symbols such as cranes and vases can also be seen on the walls.
Jiayin Hall: An example of the rich tradition of local craftsmanship can be seen at Jiayin Hall. Built in 1922, it is known for its collection of more than 100 well-preserved wood carvings of classical Chinese figurines.
The Bridges of Peace, Luck and Celebration: There are 49 bridges in Tongli, three of which have become the cultural symbols of the town. Named Taiping (peace), Jili (luck) and Changqing (celebration), locals walk over the three bridges to wish peace, fortune, happiness and health for their family and friends.
At the end of the tour, you will be dropped back at your hotel in Shanghai.
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