外文标题：Zhujiajio, China's 1700-year-old town
Discover the ancient and picturesque town of Zhujiajio, which is built on similar format as Venice, and is just two hours away from modern Shanghai.
Located on the banks of Dianshan Lake in China's Qingpu District, Zhujiajiao is almost 1700 years old. Regarded as one of the best-preserved ancient towns in China, it is also called "Little Venice", due to its waterways and boats. And tourists actually have to buy a ticket to enter the town. A 60 Yuan ticket entitles tourists to 10 scenic spots as well as a complimentary rickshaw ride.
Going to Zhujiajiao from Shanghai is like travelling back in a time machine. I was reminded of what an American had told me years earlier on the sand dunes in Sam near Jaisalmer, which he was visiting for the third time. When I asked what brought him back, he replied: "Where else in the world can you travel back 2000 years in time, in two hours?"
The small houses and narrow streets of Zhujiajiao must have looked the same 1,700 years ago as they did now. The town is crisscrossed with rivers and rivulets, spanned by some 30 old bridges, each of them different. Streets run alongside the rivers, with thousands of old buildings on their banks. Curiously though, the houses actually face the street and merely back onto the rivulets face the street with their backs to the water.
The townspeople were quite friendly and most doors and windows were left partly open. Through these half-closed wooden doors we caught glimpses of people doing their daily chores. Since it was lunch time, the aroma of freshly cooked food wafted through every street. The first place that our entry ticket entitled us to visit was the Fishermen's Home, a museum displaying fishing tools and the culture and habits of fishermen. The next on the list was the ancestor pottery and jade hall, which has a large collection of stoneware, pottery and jade used by local people. The third spot was a Chinese pharmacy.
One of the famous landmarks of Zhujiajiao is the Fangsheng Bridge built in 1571 during the Ming Dynasty, the biggest fivearch stone bridge in the town. About 70m long and 6m wide, it is shaped like rainbow, so it is also called the Rainbow Bridge. The bridge is one of the best places from which to view the town, and is always crowded.
As we waited for the bus to take us back to Shanghai, an old beggar came up to us asking for alms. We were on the verge of giving him something when several locals standing nearby, gestured to us not to do so and also said something to the beggar after which he moved away. We wondered if they were all concerned about projecting the "correct" image of a modern, prosperous China...Beggars didn't fit into the scheme of things. That was food for thought as we made our way back to the glitzy skyscapers of Shanghai....
Lots still needs to be discovered about China.
Chandran Nair (Doha, Qatar.)
While reading this story, my mind goes to Alleppy in Kerala. It was similar or better facilities. But our rulers had ruined it. If a dedicated work is done here, it can match to Venice.
Tomorrow Never Dies (Germany)
Himwant (South Asia)
Oh that is Varanasi of China. I would have loved to visit that town.
aloke (pune) replies to Himwant
Can't beat Varanasi in terms of filth for sure, and in terms of dirty/black/shi*tty Ganges for sure.