Saturday, September 15, 2012
Second stop was Shui Lu Pen Men - Water Land City Gate. Ancient cities of China were well protected by a thick brick wall built surrounding the metro area. SuZhou being one of the early established cities dating all the way back to 514 BC that's over 2500 years of history. The importance of the city and the richness of culture on this land are beyond one's imagination. It is one of the most fought for land through out Chinese history for its location and abundant of water ways for merchandise transport. The city gate was first built in 514 BC, the current brick wall and gate were rebuilt in 1351. It's amazing how solid and scientific these gates were built back in the days without bulldozers. Stunning!
Han Shan Temple was the next visiting area. Around 600 AD, a man named Han Shan was good friend to Shi De. Han's family arranged his marriage with a girl whom was in love with his friend Shi De. When Han found out, he decided to leave home and became a monk. Shi De went to look for Han Shan and found a letter wishing him and his love happy marriage. Shi De also decided to leave the girl then went to look for Han Shan at the temple. They both became monks so the temple is named Han Shan temple. Well it's a legend. :P Nevertheless, the temple has over 1500 years of history, was burn and rebuilt 5 to 7 times. Visiting China is like taking a 5 years history course, there are way too many years of happenings to know of in order to understand it is what it is on every inch of this land today.
Ah, a night cruise along the canal in the once most prosperous street, Qi Li Tang - Seven Mile Pond neighborhood. It's kinda like Hollywood in Venice, food, entertainment, clubs, tea houses, gardens, all is happening in the dark with lanterns lighting up banks on both sides of the canal. Fascinating night life of the rich, the famous and the everyday people for over 1000 years.