木渎镇 Mudu ancient town, Suzhou

Mudu 8

canal view

 

Mudu is an ancient water town on the outskirts of Suzhou, accessible at the very western end of the Metro line. It’s a nice afternoon’s outing, but can’t really compete with the other water towns in the area as a tourist destination. It does, however, have a suberb little museum with metalwork, ceramics, porcelain, and everyday items dating as far back as the Han Dynasty. A very enthusiastic museum guide showed me the entire collection, even though I only understood about 10% of what he said in Chinese.

 

Mudu house

old house entrance

 

 

Mudu old door

old door with cactus growing above

 

Tiger Hill, Suzhou

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Canal and bridge, part of the idyllic surroundings in Tiger Hill park, Suzhou.

 

 

 

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Tiger Hill Pagoda or  云岩寺塔; the tower was completed in 961 CE during the Song Dynasty. It is 7 stories tall and leans slightly toward the north, making it one of China’s “Leaning Towers.”

 

 

 

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 The tower leans over 2 meters toward the north; repairs in the 1980s inserted a ring of concrete foundations which stabilized the structure. The tower is a stone and brick version of similar wooden towers. Original curved roofs at each story have disappeared.

 

 

 

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One of the most tranquil spots at the top of the hill is this pavilion, sited to catch the passing breezes.

 

 

 

I took advantage of a slightly warmer afternoon to make my first trip to Tiger Hill, just northwest of central Suzhou. Surrounded by a landscaped park, it is the most popular tourist destination in Suzhou. I planned my outing the week before Spring Festival, when the place will be overrun with visitors. The tranquility of the spot was very relaxing, and afterward I decided to walk the length of ancient Shantang Street, itself a famous tourist destination, from Tiger Hill toward the street’s beginning at the edge of town, a little over 2 miles. It’s a quite relaxing hike, except for the insanely crowded street market at the street’s southern end, and the crowded touristy stretch of restored buildings and shops and restaurants. My feet were killing me, so I took the nearby subway back to the center of Suzhou and then did some shopping.