Shantang Street (Seven-Li Shantang)
Shantang Street, an ancient riverside pedestrian road in northwest Suzhou, Jiangsu, is very popular with tourists. From Changmen Gate (the west gate of the ancient city) in the downtown, it winds northwest on the northern bank of the Shantang River, and ends at scenic Tiger Hill. It extends about 2.2 miles (seven li), hence the name ‘Seven-Li Shantang’.
In 825, Bai Juyi, a renowned Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) poet, was transferred to Suzhou as the governor. There and then he inaugurated the Shantang River canal project. Later, a road parallel with the river on the north bank was constructed. These made Shantang block into a busy transport and commercial hub. The Shantang Street is cited as ‘the First Street in Suzhou’ mainly for three reasons: a history of nearly 1,200 years; representative of the local streets and alleys; and associated with distinguished people and events.
Shantang Street can be sectioned into two by Bantang Bridge. The east part, from Duseng Bridge in Changmen, is built up with houses and shops; while the west part, from the Tiger Hill, is natural landscape. The entire block features typical characteristics of south China in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. The clear river meanders along under small arched bridges interspersed with wooden boats adrift, passing numerous old residences and shops on the bustling street. All the above is a picturesque rendering of a beautiful ancient water town in south China. It is ideally a place to stroll, try all kinds of local snacks and pick up souvenirs. You should go boating to take in the street scene from a different angle. When night falls and the red lanterns glimmer below the eaves, it becomes hard to resist. Tourists could not help exclaiming, ‘Yes, this is Suzhou!’
Old Shantang Street
Nowadays the street reflects prosperity of both the present and the bygone era, with numerous shops and commercial guild halls. Tourists can try various snack shops with time-honored brands, including Caizhizhai, Wufangzhai and Qianshengyuan. There are also many specialty shops selling featured souvenirs like wood engravings, stones carvings and embroideries.
|Commercial Guild Museum|
Antai Fire Fighting Team
Commercial Guild Museum
Take bus line 7, 34, 44, 64, 85, 161, 304, 315, 317, 318, 406, 415, 522, 921, 970 or 980, and get off at Shantang Street Station.
Suzhou Bus Search
|Admission Fee & Opening Hours||The block is free of charge and open all day long. |
There are some sites which open from 8:30 to 17:00, and need admission fee. Visitors can buy a combo ticket (CNY 45; before 16:30) for the following sites: Yuhan Hall, Quanzhou Commercial Guild Hall, Shaoxing Commercial Guild Hall, Ancient Theatrical Stage, Shantang Pavilion, Antai Fire Fighting Team, and Jiangnan Tailoring Museum.
* Children of 3.9 - 4.9 feet (1.2 - 1.5 meters) enjoy half price tickets; children below 3.9 feet (1.2 meters) can enter for free.
Common Tour Boat: CNY 25 per person; 45 minutes.
Lingering Garden: one of China's four most famous gardens along with the Humble Administrator's Garden, Summer Palace and Chengde Mountain Resort.