Suzhou Architecture

Written by ivana Updated Sep. 27, 2023

There are several beautiful names for Suzhou, some of which leave romantic poems over the long history river. Suzhou, the cradle of Wu Culture, is a city with a history of more than 2,500 years, tracing back to the later Shang Dynasty.

It’s traditionally said that the first name for Suzhou is “Gusu”.  "Gusu" is thought to come from the Wu language, and it can be translated to mean "ancient waters." This name reflects the location of Suzhou, which is situated on the banks of Taihu Lake, which also lays the foundation of its neighbourhood architecture style. During the Sui Dynasty, the name “Suzhou” appeared in history.

When it comes to Suzhou, the exquisite architectural design of the Jiangnan style is the gist of it. Whether it's residences, gardens or museums, all of them consist of an excluded Jiangnan style which you'd never meet in any other place.

Neighbourhood Streets Style

Any neighbourhood in Suzhou might merit its own novel. Most of them are nestled alongside the river originating from the Grant Canal. It helped to make Suzhou a significant trading centre, as it allowed merchants and goods to come and go more easily between the north and south of China.

In fact, the nickname “Venice of the East” was coined for the sake of prosperity and wealth generated alongside the canal. With a particular Jiangnan architecture style built with green tiles and white walls, neighbourhoods showcase the gentle and elegant qualities of the Suzhou people.

Shantang Street Neighbourhood
Shantang Street Neighbourhood

The Complex Garden Design

Complexing garden construction is a symbol of noble in feudalism. As private gardens, Suzhou Gardens are built as an integral part of the houses, and their function is the continuation and expansion of the main house, serving from a study room, vegetarian room, and pavilions that enable the noble to appreciate operas.

Buildings often with redwoods and green tiles follow feng shui principles and feature sloping roofs, carvings, rockery and courtyards, which show their distinguished taste in the living environment. The uniform and symmetrical layout of the building is suitable for China's feudal society and the patriarchal system of ritual. The overall arrangement reflects the lifestyle of the noble in a feudal society with the ethics of Confucianism and aesthetic interest.

Humble Administrator Garden
Humble Administrator Garden Architecture Structure

Unique Suzhou Museums

Each museum serves its unique features determined by its different frontier which is hard to describe in one word.

The exhibits are well-curated and feature a blend of traditional and modern pieces. It also, there’re incorporates multimedia elements and interactive displays to create an immersive experience for visitors.

Kun Opera Museum, Suzhou
Kun Opera Museum, Suzhou

Plan your Suzhou Trip with China Travel

If you would like a detailed tour of Suzhou, let us know, and we will plan a trip customized to your preferences. Our experienced English-speaking guides will escort you to the museum and tell you about the history and stories of this charming city.

Please feel free to share your tour ideas with us. We look forward to serving you.

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