Situated northwest of Suzhou's ancient city, Shantang Street is a delicate street 3,600 meters long. Shantang Street is also called Seven-mile Shantang. It is regarded as the “No.1 Ancient Street in China”. Built during Tang Dynasty, it has a history of more than 1,100 years and it still stands well-preserved.
In CE 825 during Tang Dynasty, a project of digging a canal and building a dam along the canal in order to facilitate water and land traffic was started by Bai Juyi, one of the greatest poets and feudal governor of Suzhou City in the Tang Dynasty. Both the canal and dam are 3,600 meters long, so Shantang Street is also called Seven-mile Shantang.
Shantang Street was regarded as Baigong Dam in honor of Bai Juyi. Shantang Street is a picturesque holiday resort and historical street since Tang Dynasty. There used to be thousands of travelers who came there every year.
Shantang Street become the most prosperous block in Ming and Qing dynasties due to its highly developed trade and business. As the main channel linking the Grand Canal, Shantang Street once become the prosperous trade center of Suzhou City.
Legend of Shantang Street
According to a folk fairy tale, at the beginning of the Ming Dynasty, there used to be 7 stone foxes around Shantang Street. They were used for breaking Fengshui by Liu Bowen, a great politician and militarist in Ming Dynasty. Some Chinese scholars hold that the real name of Shantang Street is Seven-fox Shantang, not Seven-mile Shantang. Nowadays, there are 7 foxes along this street that build in 2006 by locals.
Shantang Street Features
Shantang Street is full of canals, lanes, and bridges. Taking a boat cruise along this street, travelers can visit all the scenic spots of the vintage street and enjoy real tranquility. Bridges across canals look like many rainbows lying above Shantang Street.
Shantang Street in the evening is elegant. The lights from houses on riverbanks not only reflect the picturesque Shantang River but only reflect the past prosperousness of Shantang Street. Travelers walking along this street will feel as if they are walking in a Chinese ink painting.
Shantang Old Street
Although it is only 360 meters long, a tenth of Shantang Street, but It is the essence of Shantang Street. Shantang Old Street is widely regarded as “The epitome of Suzhou ancient city and the window of Wu culture”.
It is a street that combing primitive simplicity and the latest modernity. There are various snack shops, halls, tea houses fashion stores as well as western-style restaurants along this old street. Travelers can find the most traditional specialties and buy clothes with folk customs.
How to Get There
It is very close to Suzhou City. Take No. 64 bus from Suzhou Bus Station which spending around 15 minutes.
Tiger Hill is known as the “First Scenic Spot in the State of Wu” and is famous for its leaning tower and legends. Humble Administrator Garden is some picturesque scenic spots like Tiger Hill and Humble Administrator Garden definitely picturesque garden architecture in Suzhou.