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East China
East China - TravelPuppy.com
Shanghai

Shanghai is one of the world’s biggest cities and one of China’s most famous - more similar to Paris or New York than Beijing. Sprawling on the estuary of the Chang Jiang (Yangtze) River, it is the centre of China’s industry and trade. European-style architecture, traditional Chinese buildings and new developments all co-exist in this cosmopolitan metropolis. The Yuyuan Gardens date back more than 400 years: although fairly small, they are spectacular thanks to their elaborate design, with pavilions, ponds, rockeries, and a traditional theatre twined together in an ornate maze. The gardens can be reached from the Town God Temple Bazaar, a touristy but impressive warren of stalls and lanes. The French Concession area contains very peaceful, characterful colonial neighbourhoods and parks while the Bend along the Huangpu River has the famous strip of Art Deco towers. From here, the new Pudong Development Area and the Oriental Pearl Tower can be seen across the water.

Hangzhou

Located approximately 190 kilometres (120 miles) south of Shanghai, Hangzhou is 1 of China’s 7 ancient capital cities. Well known as ‘Paradise on Earth’, Hangzhou was also depicted by Marco Polo as ‘the most beautiful and magnificent city in the world’. Presently the city is a beautiful location still visited by great numbers of Chinese and foreign tourists. Without a doubt the most attractive excursion, however, is to the West Lake area, adorned with weeping willows and peach trees, stone bridges, painted pavilions and rockeries This is the location of the Pagoda of Six Harmonies, various tombs and sacred hills, temples, monasteries and the Linyin Temple.

Nanjing

Another former capital, Nanjing ('southern capital’) is presently capital of Jiangsu Province. The city sits on the Chang Jiang (Yangtze) River at the foot of Zijinshan (Purple Mountain). It flourishes with tombs, temples, lakes, parks, museums, and monuments - The most famous amongst them being the Tomb of the Ming Emperor, here lies the body of Zhu Yuanzhang, founder of the Ming Dynasty and the only Ming emperor not buried in Beijing. The mausoleum of China’s first president, Dr Sun Yat-sen, is also located here. Other interesting places include the Yangtze River Bridge with its observation deck, the Ming city wall, the ruins of the Ming Palace, the Purple and Gold Mountains Observatory and the Tombs of the Southern Tang Dynasty, also known as the ‘Underground Palace’.

Suzhou

1 of China’s oldest cities, dating back almost 2,500 years. An old proverb says that ‘in Heaven there is Paradise; on earth, Suzhou’. Its riverside streets are similar to those of Venice and there are many beautiful water gardens. There are more than 400 historical sites and relics protected by the Government, such as the Blue-Waves Pavilion Garden on the outskirts, the Lion-Grove Garden which its rockeries resembling lions, the Humble Administrator’s Garden and the Garden of the Master of the Nets. The Grand Canal and Tiger Hill are also worth visiting. There are many silk mills which produce exquisite fabrics, and the embroidery is an unparalleled art form.

Wuxi

This resort and industrial city on the north bank of Lake Tai, about 125 kilometres (75 miles) west of Shanghai, has some famous lakeside parks and gardens. Yangzhou to the west, is said to have once been governed by Marco Polo, has a fine poetic tradition of gardens such as the Xu Garden and others located along the Narrow West Lake, as well as old merchant houses. To the southwest, on Huangshan Mountain in the southern Anhui Province, trees hang on to breathtaking rocky precipices amongst the clouds and clear natural lakes and springs. A UNESCO World Heritage Site for its natural beauty and wildlife, the mountain offers a cablecar connecting the summit and base.

Wuhan

Wuhan spans the Chang Jiang (Yangtze) River. The capital of Hubei Province, it is an industrial hub. There are also Buddhist temples, parks and lakes, as well as the Yellow Crane Tower and the Provincial Museum, housing the famous Chime Bells, built more than 2,400 years ago. Close by in Danjiangou City, Wudang or Taihe Mountain houses an ancient building complex containing temples, nunneries, pavilions and palaces.
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