Luzhi Water Town is located in the Wuzhong District, 18 km east of Suzhou in Jiangsu Province. It is one of the best preserved old towns in China, along with its old canals and streets. With a history of more than 1400 years, it compares favorably to Zhouzhuang Town. Luzhi was famed to be the Venice of the East for its beautiful waterways and ancient bridges, some of the bridges dated back to the Song Dynasty. A walk in the ancient town Luzhi is said to be a walk into history frozen in time, tranquil and serene.
The Ming Dynasty poet Gao Qi poem 'Scene of Puli' is still an accurate description of the scenery in the ancient town Luzhi today. It reads, 'Long bridge short bridge with willows; Front stream rear stream with lotus; People watching banner over wine store risen; Seagulls escort boat to home of fishman.' It is quite worth a visit.
Puli was the ancient name of Luzhi Water Town. At that time, Puli consisted of two districts, Puli and Liuzhi. Liuzhi meant that there were six straight rivers in the town. This water town was named after a Tang Dynasty recluse poet called Lu Guimong who retired in this town, as Lu Guimong had a pseudonym- Mr. Puli. In the Suzhou dialect, 'liu' was pronounced as 'lu', and Liuzhi pronounced as Luzhi. At the end of the Qing Dynasty, Puli was changed to Luzhi Township of Yuanhe County.
In 2004, Luzhi together with Tongli and Zhouzhuang were listed in the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage Sites. With the rapid modernization of China, large number of historical towns disappeared under the bulldozers, with only a handful of well preserved historical townships remaining today. In 2004, Luzhi was also awarded a Township Preservation Award by UNESCO.
Baoshen Temple boasts a history of thousand years. It was said to be built in the second year of Tianjiang of Liang Dynasty (503 AD). By Song dynasty it was called the Baoshen Zen Temple, with 5000 halls and one thousand monks. The Arhat statues in the Baoshen Temple are national treasures, which were the work of the Tang Dynasty sculptor, Yang Huizhi.
【The Former Resident of the Shen’s】
The Former Resident of the Shen’s is the former home of Shen Bohan, who is a famous educator and a rice man in town. The house was built in 1873.
【Ye Shengtao Memorial Hall】
Ye Shengtao Memorial Hall was built to commemorate the famous educator and writer, Ye Shengtao. It was built at former site of the 5th High School where Ye Shengtao taught from 1917 to 1922.
Many ancient buildings, street, bridge and its canals are also great places for taking beautiful photos.