Jiangsu / My Jiangsu Story

"Suzhou, between ancient history and modern development" - Ardi Pulaj

( Updated: 2015-11-26 14:12

Photo by Ardi Pulaj during his visit to Suzhou [Photo/provided to]

Ardi Pulaj from Albania was deeply impressed by his prompt visit to Suzhou with friends. Let's hear his story....

Gardens, museums and canals are the best features of Suzhou, one of the major cities belonging to China’s province of Jiangsu, in the eastern part of the country. The city is located about 100 km away from Shanghai and about 200 km away from province’s capital, Nanjing, with trains and buses running frequently and making it accessible for the tourists who want a break from these metropolis.

Like most of the cities in China, Suzhou, which is part of the Yangtze River Delta, during the past years, has seen a transformation and development by turning itself into an important economic and trade center, coming second after Nanjing, especially with its industrial parks and development zones.

But on the other side, Suzhou offers a lot to tourists who want to experience the ancient Chinese history.

One of the most interesting tourist attractions is Pingjiang road, dating since the Song Dynasty period and nowadays it is well preserved. The street is more than 1600 meters and there you can feel the real Suzhou local way of living. It features, stone bridges over the river, shops with silk products, restaurants and teahouses, interesting Kunqu opera or storytelling shows.

The canals give you the feeling you are somewhere between Venice and Amsterdam, with locals using the small boats to move around goods or offer rides to the tourists. Not only in Pingjiang road, but also in the famous Shantang street visitors can enjoy the unique architecture.

Suzhou's subtropical climate, with hot and humid summers is balanced with the famous gardens, which can be found in the city. The green spaces around the amazing architectural structures and the water create an oasis of freshness.

Photo by Ardi Pulaj during his visit to Suzhou [Photo/provided to]

Being an UNESCO World Heritage Site, the classical gardens, such as The Humble Administrator's Garden, Lingering, Canglang Pavilion, Lion Groove, represent the styles of garden during different dynasties.

For Wang Xintong, a quality assurance engineer from Harbin, who used to live and work in Suzhou, Tiger Hill, which took its name, as the locals say, because it looks like a crouching tiger, is her favorite.

"Suzhou, in the ancient times, was a place known for literature and in the Tiger Hill you can find poetry and calligraphy carved on the rocks in this place. The history tells us those poets long time ago used to hang out with their friends and get the inspiration they needed for their work. So, when I walked around Tiger Hill, I felt like I was surrounded by the culture", she says.

When it comes to the food, Suzhou offers a slightly sweet cuisine, with fresh vegetables combined with fish, as a specialty. Where can a squirreled-shaped fish, steamed white fish or water shield with egg flakes soup tastes better than in Suzhou?

Wang Xintong adds more Suzhou-style dishes, which she likes.

"There are many dishes, like noodles, cherry sweet and sour pork, Suzhou-style meat moon cakes and so on", she says.

For the sweet tooth, sugar porridge, which is white glutinous rice porridge sweetened with brown sugar and covered with red bean paste or the Jiuniang cake, are the most recommended. The latter is famous, especially after the Spring Festival, when the streets of Suzhou are scented with the sweet and sour smell of Jiuniang cake. It looks like a moon cake and the filling differs, from sweetened been paste, fried sesame to the rose filling.

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