A Tongli is a well-preserved water town, with numerous canals and rivers and is often referred to as the Venice of China. The town is less than 20 km from Suzhou.
The water town, with it's many canals is just 18km from Suzhou. Within the town there are nearly 50 stone bridges of various style and age, interconnecting the seven islands on which Tongli is built. The Ternate Bridges, such as Taiping, Jili and Changqing Bridges, cross three rivers at their confluence. These bridges are regarded as very symbolic and are crossed by couples on wedding days to help bring good luck to the marriage and later when a child is born to help the grown healthily.
Siben Bridge ( Reflecting Origin ) is the oldest bridge and dates back to the Song Dynasty.
With it's numerous canals and stone arched bridges, Tongli is a place to spend some time.
Fugan St Canal
On the islands between the canals and rivers, there are many houses dating back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Many of these houses along the canal walks have carved wooden windows, flying eaves. Along the canals there are many stone stairs leading to the water, in which clothes are often washed.
Canal after Canal
There are a number of boat operators moored at strategic points along the canal walks who can take you on a tour of the canals and rivers.
The town with it's broad avenue, narrow alley ways, canal side walks is a great place to explore.
Tongli has long been a cultural town and home to many poets and artists. The tranquil setting has been inspiring the arts for centuries. The Retreat and Reflection Garden, built in 1886, is a major attraction and gained UNESCO World Heritage status in 2001.