Lying in northeastern Suzhou ancient city, Pingjiang Road is a road that is full of dignity and vigor. Having a history of more than 800 years, the road still stands well-preserved. Originally built during the Song Dynasty, it is a delicate stone road with 1606 meters long. It runs parallel to the Pingjiang River.
The layout of Pingjiang Road
Nowadays, the vintage district alongside Pingjiang Road still remains the almost same structure as 800 years ago.
Pingjiang Road stands in a unique setting along with a variety of small canals, characteristic stores, and typical houses of Suzhou style. This road is not wide but curious in its design, and its design is based on the geography of Suzhou, which is surrounded by rivers.
The water system along Pingjiang Road is highly developed. Travelers can get to and enjoy all the old houses, and waterside pavilions by rowing a punt-boat. There are bridges across the Pingjiang River and buildings with black tiles and white halls lying on the riverbanks. It shows a typical Chinese ink painting.
Pingjiang Road is the epitome of Suzhou. The name "Pingjiang" first appeared in historical records during the Tang dynasty (618-907). During this period, the capital of the Tang dynasty was in Chang'an (present-day Xi'an), and Suzhou was a major economic and cultural center. The city was also known as the "Gateway to the South," and the Grand Canal was an important trade route.
The name “Pingjiang” came to the fore of a wish for a peaceful and prosperous life in Suzhou. "Ping" means "peaceful" and "Jiang" refers to the river. It's also worth noting that "jiang" is also a common surname in China, and it's possible that the name "Pingjiang" is a reference to the local people who helped to build and maintain the canal. So the name can also be seen as a tribute to the hard work and dedication of the people of Suzhou.
Pingjiang Road is a vintage route. It was the main road in Suzhou's ancient city during the Song Dynasty. The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal runs along with it. It played a prominent role in locals’ daily life in the Song Dynasty, especially in the local economy. Nowadays, this road is still a prosperous road along with many stores and restaurants with local characteristics.
When it comes to Pingjiang Road, travelers can easily recall two celebrities. One of them called Hongjun, a Zhuangyuan (the one who was the first in the imperial examination) in the Qing Dynasty, living at 29th Xuanqiao Lane. Hongjun is not only the best talent but also a romantic person.
It was said that on a sunny morning, Hongjun met Sai Jinhua, a singer of beauty and grace, on Pingjiang Road. Then they fell in love at first sight with each other. Not surprisingly, they get married soon. As a minister, Hongjun was sent on a diplomatic mission of the Qing dynasty to visit Europe. As Hongjun’s wife, Sai Jinhua went with Hongjun. They go together well and are a nice couple.
They came back four years later. And Sai Jinhua can speak fluent English. But unluckily, Hongjun died two months later. Then Sai Jinhua had to leave for Shanghai City and make a living as a social butterfly because there were arguments among Family Hong.
What to Do
Enjoy Kunqu Opera
Kunqu Opera is a traditional opera of Suzhou, which originated over 600 years ago. It is an opera that combines singing and telling of the local dialect. Taking a stroll through the stone road, travelers can hear operas sung by locals. The friendly locals sometimes teach travelers how to sing it. Travelers can enjoy local elegant performances.
What’s more, there is a Kunqu Opera Museum along this road. This museum is a building built during the end of the Qing Dynasty (CE1644-1911) by merchants from Shanxi Province, China. However, it is a typical Suzhou-style building with a theater inside.
Taking a boat cruise to the Pingjiang River, travelers can escape from the noise of city life and enjoy real tranquility. There are many locals in traditional garments on the road. Their garments are full of enchanting charm.
The traditional songs and dances by locals, buildings, and souvenir shops show the local folk customs perfectly.
Also, there are a lot of snack shops and teahouses hidden in wide streets and narrow lanes. Travelers will find delicious food there.
The main ingredient in this traditional snack is rice flour, which is first put into a wooden mold. Various fillings including white sugar, osmanthus flowers, and sesame powder are then added. The cake is then steamed over a hot fire and, when taken out, is ready to eat. Easy to make, osmanthus cakes can be quite soft and tasty to munch on. They are generally made and sold on the spot by individual locals scattered on the streets and lanes. It is convenient for travelers to buy and eat them on the spot.
Fried Plain Bun
It is a traditional fried bun. The fillings are julienne pork, chopped scallion pieces, and sesames. The cooked bun’s skin is crisp. The fillings are delicious and aromatic.
Also, there are stuffed meatballs with rice wine, sweet and sour fish, local yogurt, and julienne pork with green pepper. These dishes are delicious and traditional. Besides, there are some Western-style restaurants that will make foreigners feel at home.
How to Get There
It enjoys a prime location. It is around a 10-minute walk from Humble Administrator Garden. Take bus No.1 and No.2 shuttle buses can access it. And take bus No. 202 bus can arrive there.
There are the Suzhou Museum and the Humble Administrator Garden around Pingjiang Road. Suzhou Museum is a unique art museum, which combines the style of traditional and modern architectural features. The Humble Administrator Garden is a definitely picturesque garden architecture in Suzhou.
1. This road is a little bit rough, so no high-heeled shoes will be better to visit.
2. In season, there will be many travelers. It will be better to book rooms.
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.
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