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Zhouzhuang, once called Zhenfengli, is a town in Jiangsu province, China. It is located within Kunshan county-level city, 30 km southeast of Suzhou.
In 1086, Zhou Digong, a noted Buddhist, contributed 13 hectares of land to the Full Fortune Temple. The town got its present name as a memorial of the donor. It is noted for its profound cultural background, the well-preserved ancient residential houses, the elegant watery views and the strong local colored traditions and customs.
In an area of half a square kilometer, 60 percent of the structures were built during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The town is surrounded and divided by lakes and rivers, 14 stone bridges cross the rivers, showing distinctive views of the water town. Twin Bridges are the most famous as considered the symbol of the town. Crossing the two crisscross rivers and connecting at the middle, Twin Bridges look like a Chinese old-style Chinese key. In 1984, 38 canvases of the notable painter, Chen Yifei, were exhibited in a New York gallery of Armand Hammer, chairman of Occidental Petroleum Corporation. "Memory of Hometown" which depicts Twin Bridges was one of the items on display and has gained the world's attention for the town. The painting was chosen to be the first day cover of the United Nations' postage stamp in 1985. Two houses of wealthy Qing Dynasty families provide an interesting glimpse into the daily life of ancient China in a small rural village. One rich man named Shen was very worried about assassination attempts. Thus he took the precaution of making all of the thresholds in his house extremely high to slow down any would-be killer.
Standing on Zhongshi Street which is opposite to Puqing Bridge, Chengxu Taoist Temple was built during 1086-1093 of the Song Dynasty and also known as Sanctity Hall (Shengtang Hall). After several periods of expansion, it is one of the most famous Taoist temples in Wuzhong Region. In an area of 1,500 square meters (1,800 square yards), simple but majestic Shengdi and Doumu halls, Yuhuang, Wenchang and Shengdi pavilions are really elaborate works and masterpieces of Taoist architectures.
After feasting your eyes with all the attractions in Zhouzhuang, you should also treat your mouth with a meal of the delicious local food. The Shen Family Restaurant is said to be the best place to enjoy the typical local cuisine. The local specialties include braised pork tendons, white shellfish, steamed shad and fried whitebait.