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Zhouzhuang Town

2006-07-12 13:30   我要纠错 | 打印 | 收藏 | | |

  Zhouzhuang Town, once called Zhenfengli, is located in Kunshan City, 30 km to the southeast of Suzhou in Jiangsu Province covering an area of 0.4 sq. km. Apart from Kunshan, it is also closely linked with Qingpu, WuJiang and Wuxian County. The above four places were called Yaocheng in ancient times and were the fief in the spring and autumn Period (770-476 B. C.)。 In 1086, Zhou Digong, a noted Buddhist, contributed 13 hectares of land to the Quanfu Temple (Full Fortune), which later took the name of Zhouzhuang Town as a memorial to Zhou.

  Zhouzhuang is well known for its beautiful environment and simple architecture. Although more than 900 years have past, its architectural style is still well preserved. More than 60 percent of the residential houses were built during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, consisting of nearly 100 classic courtyards and 60 carved brick archways. Like a lotus on the water, the town is surrounded and bisected by rivers including Nanbeichi, Houxiang, Youcheyang and Zhongshi. There are many bridges as well, including Fu'an,Zhenfeng, Fuhong, Tongxiu, Puqing, Xianyuan, Tiyun, Bao'en, Longxing, Yong' an, Shide and Jubao, the most famous being Yong'an and Shide, known as Double Bridge, one a stone archetype and the other a stone beam type bridge. Two rivers crisscross in north-south and east-west directions here, and the square and round openings of the bridges provide a unique frame for the water scenery. Sitting on the boat, one may enjoying the scene between bridges and feels the interest of a water township, which offers a quiet and simple life. When night falls, all streets are empty. Down the narrow lanes one catches a glimpse of dim lights. Walking by the waterside, along the road or over a bridge, the peace of the calm water and clear sky, perhaps punctuated occasionally by the distant sound of laughter, creates a harmonious and sweet environment.  The town has many cultural relics, including the houses of Shen and Zhang, the Milou Tower, Ye Chucang's Former Residence, Chengxu Taoist Temple and Quanfu Temple.  Many ancient and modern scholars have lived in or visited the town, such as ancient Zhang Han, a literati of the Western Jin Dynasty (265-317), Liu Yuxi and Lu Guimeng, two poets of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), as well as modern Sanmao, a noted woman writer from Taiwan, and artist Chen Yifei. Chen's painting, “The Double Bridge”, is as famous as the real double bridge in the town. A well-known Chinese artist Wu Guanzhong once praised the town as a collection of beauty of China's water townships. Luo Zhewen, a notable architect, described Zhouzhuang as “a treasure of China”。 Zhouzhuang enJoys rich cultural resources, a beautiful environment and simple local customs.

  Dragon Dance: Men of Zhouzhuang always play the black dragon and women play the yellow dragon during holidays. Lion dance is also very common.

  Fast Boating: This started in the Qing Dynasty. At first, it was the needs of war, and then people held races for celebrating the harvest and holidays, also for weddings. Farmers participate with their own boats, clothes, props, gongs and drums. Zhouzhuang now has dozens of travel boats for tourists to do sightseeing around.

  Grandmother Tea: People of Zhouzhuang are very fond of tea. They drink it in a tasteful way, using ancient tea sets, boiling water in pottery or earthen Jars, bamboo slices or branches as fuel. They first wash the tea and then, several minutes later; pour on boiled water to guarantee the color, fragrance and taste. People used to see groups of old women sitting together and drinking tea, and hence the name, grandmother tea. At present, people like to take some vegetables, melon seeds, beans and other pastries during the tea drinking.  Zhouzhuang enjoys rich natural resources and local specialties. Family Feast of Shen Wansan: When the rich man Shen Wansan moved to Zhouzhuang, he invited famous chefs, selected fresh aquatic products to create a series of delicacies after seasoning and cooking, such as Wansan Pig's Upper Leg, Streamed Mandarin Fish, Pottage of Vegetables and Perch, Ginger Sauce River Snail, Bean Curd Leaf Rolls with Minced Pork, Dried Double-Flavor Bean curd, Braised Lotus Root, and Three- Flavor Meatballs. These dishes have been handed down for generations.

  Wansan Pig's Upper Leg: This is Zhouzhuang's most famous delicacy. The pig's upper Leg with flavorings is cooked or steamed until well done. The soup, which turns red, is saline and sweet.

  Three-Flavor Meatballs: Chicken meat, fresh prawns, pork, shallots and ginger, as well as rice wine are packed inside gluten, and then made into round balls. They are boiled in chicken soup until well done. It looks crystal-clear and very delicious.

  Pottage of Vegetables and Perch: Zhouzhuang's perch has two gills, and its nice meat can be cooked in many different ways. Boiling the perch with vegetables is one of the best ways to serve. White Shellfish: White shellfish are produced in XianJiang River in April. They are washed first and boiled with some flavorings until well done. The soup, which has a milky appearance, is richly nutritious. The meat can also be stir-fried.

  Wansan Cake: This has a history of hundreds of years. The Zou's family used to produce various cakes for generations. This therapy is based on fine materials and offers many different kinds, which is welcomed by local people. Every holiday, Shen Wansan's family often ordered lots of cakes to give relatives and friends, thus creating the name of Wansan Cake.

  Pickled Vegetables: People collect fresh rape in late spring, then dry it in the sun. Before being completely dried out, however, they are put into an earthen Jar, then sealed and put into an airtight storage space. Several months later, the rape can be taken out and eaten directly, or used for cooking and in soup.

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