Amongst the best things to do in Suzhou, China is to spend time at Shantang Street which offers insights into the city’s rich history; here’s more on what awaits.
Planning Your Visit
This historical riverside pedestrian road runs from Changmen Gate and goes along a part of Shantang River before ending at Tiger Hill in Suzhou; accommodation options in the Wuzhong Economic Development Zone such as Somerset Suzhou Bay Suzhou are ideal for those planning sightseeing excursions to such sites. Apart from a taxi, you can take the metro or bus (including #7, 64, 406 & 921) to Shantang Street Station and proceed from there.
History of the Street
The story of this locale goes back to 825 A.D during the Tang Dynasty when a well-known poet, Bai Juyi, became the governor of Suzhou. He began the Shantang River canal project and subsequently, a parallel road was built on the river’s north bank. Referred to as the city’s first street, this locale became a commercial and transport hub and today it’s a key tourist attraction.
What to Expect
Shantang Street offers a glimpse of what an ancient water town of South China would be like and is a great place to explore set amidst views of the river and age-old bridges; you will find many shops, traditional houses and guild halls here that lend to the old-world charm, while it’s also an ideal spot to buy souvenirs and local snacks. At night, the area is transformed by the glow of red lanterns that add to its allure.
On your visit, there are some key sites of interest you can look to take in such as the Commercial Guild Museum where you can find out more about the history of commercial guilds. Also of interest are Yuhan Hall which was once the home of the well-known Ming Dynasty official named Wu Yipeng and Tonggui Bridge which is a popular structure to photograph.
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