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Wuzhen Overview

Wuzhen

As its name ("Black Town") suggests, most decorated archways in Wuzhen are black. There is an "East Village (dong zha)" and a "West Village (xi zha)" in Wuzhen. East Village is mainly for tourism. However, in order not to make it too commercialized, all the houses except for several spots beside the roads are closed. West Village is a district mainly for tourist accommodation. There are all kinds of inns and hotels here. West Village is best seen at night. It is said that the lighting here is wonderful.

Wuzhen Water Town is located in Tongxiang of Zhejiang Province, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Hangzhou, and 140 kilometers (87 miles) from Shanghai. The world famous Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal runs through the town, which endows Wuzhen Water Town with rivers and canals crisscrossing the whole area. With a history of more than 7000 years, Wuzhen Water Town gathers all the unique features of Jiangnan (downstream area of Yangtze River) water towns. It perfectly maintains the former styles and features of ancient water towns. On the river banks of Wuzhen, there are a large amount of ancient residential houses, workshops and stores with a total area of more than 169,600 square meters (42 acres), accounting for 82 percent of Wuzhen’s total ground area. Most of the buildings were built during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1912). Wuzhen Water Town has been listed by UNESCO into the reserve list of world cultural heritages.

Among all the beautiful water towns south of the Yangtze River, Wuzhen has become especially noted for its history and culture. Original ancient town scenery like bridges, waterways and houses are well-preserved. According to historical records, Xinchun Village in the East Village district of Wuzhen has relics from the Neolithic Period, belonging to the Majiabin civilization, 7000 years ago. Here you can find a legacy from Warring States Period (475-221 BC) and hear stories of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom (1851-1864). 161 first-degree scholars and 64 imperial scholars came from this town from the Song Dynasty (960-1279) to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Many famous officials and intellectuals built their villas here. Mao Dun, the renowned modern Chinese writer’s former residence was also built here, adding to the atmosphere of culture and peace in this town.

A special thing about Wuzhen is that some of the houses beside the river is built on pillars to lift them above the surface of the waterway. Wooden or stone pillars are fixed into the waterway bed, crossbeams are fixed to the pillars, and wooden boards are fixed on to form floors. This architectural feature is called a “water pavilion”. This is part of the original architecture of Wuzhen. The water pavilion is really “on the waterway”. There are often windows on the three sides of this feature, facing the waterway, through which people can have a wonderful view of the watery scenery. Mao Dun described the water pavilion in his hometown in his book Da Di Shan He saying: “…outside the back door there is the river. Standing beside the back door people can get water by hanged tubs. In my dreams I can still hear the sound of the boats floating in the air…” In a sense, the water pavilion is the spirit of Wuzhen. It’s not as gorgeous as the tall buildings. However, with water pavilions, people in Wuzhen get closer with the water; with water pavilions, the scenery of Wuzhen becomes more charming; with water pavilions, the temperament of Wuzhen is more elegant; with water pavilions, the history of Wuzhen becomes more cultural. Water pavilions are only present in the water town of Wuzhen and they make this place charming. 

Wuzhen Highlights

A special thing about Wuzhen is that some of the houses beside the river is built on pillars to lift them above the surface of the waterway. » more

Wuzhen Food

The fish in Wuzhen cuisine live in the water that is not polluted. The meat of the fish is soft and delicious, a rare treasure among fresh water fish. » more

Wuzhen Transportation

There are special tourist buses to Wuzhen from Shanghai Stadium (7:50 am and 8:45 am) and Hongkou Football Stadium (8:00 am) . » more

Wuzhen Accommodation

Three high-level hotels, an inn and traditional home-like accommodation with water town characteristics have been built. » more

Wuzhen Itinerary

East Village scenic area has a unified ticket policy. The price of the ticket is 100 yuan/person, and it can be only used once on that day. » more

Wuzhen Travel Tips

The weather in Wuzhen is no different to that in Xiaxing and Xitang. The most beautiful scenery of Wuzhen is in spring and fall. » more

 

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