Lying to the southwest of Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, Panmen Scenic Area was built on the base of some historic sites by using the architectural structure of classical gardens. It is famous for its numerous historic relics and abundant human landscapes and has been listed as a National AAAA Tourist Area. Now, Panmen Scenic Area has become a tourist resort showing the unique historic and cultural features of Suzhou. The scenery area centered on Panmen City Gate consists of many scenic spots. Amongst them, Ruiguang Pagoda, Panmen City Gate and Wumen Bridge are praised as 'three fine sceneries'.
Standing at the entrance of the scenery area, Ruiguang Pagoda is the oldest pagoda in Suzhou. It is as high as 175.6 feet (53.57 meters) and was built in masonry-timber structure with eight sides and seven floors. It is said that the pagoda was built in 247 by Sun Quan, a famous king who established the Wu Kingdom
in Three Kingdoms Period
(220-280), to show respect to his mother. Unfortunately, in the next thousand years, the pagoda has been damaged badly in the wars, leaving only the brick body of it. In 1978, a little pagoda with Sheli (Buddhist relics) was found on the third floor of Ruiguang Pagoda and some other cultural relics were also found there, such as Miaofalianhua Scripture written on green paper and bronze Buddhist Statue.
Panmen City Gate
As the center of the scenery area, Panmen City Gate, also being called Pan Gate, was first built during the Wu Kingdom of Spring and Autumn Period (770BC-476BC) and it is the only well preserved water-and-land city gate in the world now. It consists of the land city gate, the water city gate, the city gate tower, the barbican and the city wall on both sides. It was a place with utmost importance for the army in ancient times. The double water city gate is a pioneering work in architectural history. There is a sluice on the gate which can be closed and opened by a stone gate at any time to control the water as well as resist aggression. Upon the gate, there is a city tower. It was damaged many times in wars and the extant Panmen City Gate Tower was built in 1986 to commemorate the 2,500-year-anniversary of the establishment of Suzhou. There are many ancient weapons on display on the first floor of the tower. And the city wall is 328 yards (300 meters) long and 16 feet (5 meters) high. Walking along the slope on the north of the city wall, you can see the whole arrangement of Panmen City Gate.
Not far from Panmen City Gate, visitors can see Wumen Bridge. It was built in 1084 and is the highest ancient bridge in Suzhou now. The bridge is 36 feet (11 meters) high and 72 yards (66 meters) long. It is recorded that it was made up of three bridges originally and has been repaired many times in history. In the Qing Dynasty
(1644-1911), it was rebuilt into a single arched stone bridge. There are 50 steps on both sides of the bridge separately. Standing on the bridge, you can see not only the boats coming and going frequently over the river but also the high pagoda and the fine sceneries in a distance.
Besides the three fine sceneries, there are many other scenic spots to see around here, such as Premier Wu Zixu's Memorial Temple, Hall of Sirui, Double-Pavilion Corridor Bridge and Century Bell of Tang.
After admiring the scenic spots, you will be satisfied with the traditional Chinese activities, including bell tolling, boating and acrobatics. Moreover, the traditional wedding show is also enjoyable.
1. Take bus no. 39, 47, 305, 935, 949, or tourist bus no. 2 or 5 and get off at Panmen Scenic Area North Station.
2. Take bus no. 70 or 970 and get off at Panmen Station. Suzhou Bus Search
|Admission Fee || |
CNY 40 (daytime)
* Free for childer below 3.9 feet (1.2 meters); half price for children between 3.9 and 1.9 feet (1.2 and 1.5 meters).
CNY 40 (night)
* Free for childer below 3.9 feet (1.2 meters).
|Opening Hours ||07:30-17:00; 18:00-20:30 |