In China's water towns you will find picturesque villages that exude a rustic charm - a welcome sight for travellers who tire of crowded and bustling cities.
Located 30 kilometers East of Huzhou, Zhejiang province, the Ancient Town of Nanxun is a well-known for its rich cultural heritage, boasting a history that dates back 760 years. It was founded in 1252, towards the the end of Emperor Chunyou's reign in the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). As one of the most well-preserved old towns in the region, Nanxun Ancient Town is now among the top six ancient towns situated in Southern China.
As one of the four noted towns in Shaoxing, Anchang borders Xiaoshan Mountain in Hangzhou, the Keqiao Bridge in the south and the Hangzhou-Ningbo expressway in the north. Established during the Northern Song Dynasty, it was rebuilt during the Ming and Qing Dynasties after several wars and disasters, inheriting the typical features of a water town in regions south of the Yangtze River. With a simple and elegant atmosphere, the waterside town holds wedding ceremonies on the water, a custom unique to the area. A festival featuring its folk customs is held each year, and always receives a large number of tourists.
Located at the foot of Lingyanshan Mountain, in the western suburbs of Suzhou, Mudu has a layout distinct from other ancient towns. Ranking in the top 13 scenic spots in Taihu Lake, it is also the only town boasting classical Chinese gardens.
Among over 30 private gardens built during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, Yanjia Garden, Hongyinshan Mansion, Lingyanshan Residence, Gusong Garden and Bangyan Mansion have been restored with Yanjia Garden, the former residence of Yanjiajin, a political figure in Taiwan, and Hongyinshan Mansion which is in possession of the valuable 20 imperial edicts of the Qing Dynasty. It is a wonderful place for modern people to relax and enjoy its rich cultural heritage, elegant environment and historical legends.
Zhouzhuang, a famous water town in Southern China, is located in Kunshan city, Jiangsu province. Because Zhouzhuang is surrounded by water, boats were necessary for entering and departing from Zhouzhuang before the 1980s. Before the Jishuigang Bridge was built in May 1989, land transportation was not available. Due to an undeveloped transportation network, the ancient culture and historical sites of Zhouzhuang were well-preserved after more than 900 years. This beautiful small town has become the model of China's water towns.
Located in Jiashan county, Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, Xitang is about 100 km from Shanghai. The small cities of Suzhou and Hangzhou and can be reached either by train on the Shanghai-Hangzhou Railway or by bus along the 320 national highway.
Known as an ancient town with a history spanning over 1,000 years, Xitang was a place shared by the Wu and Yue states as early as the Warring States period. Setting it apart from other water towns, it has roofed streets alongside rivers with a total length of 1,000 meters, much like the Summer Palace corridor.