Located in a suburb of Shanghai city, Zhujiajiao is an ancient water town well-known throughout the country, with a history of more than 1700 years. Covering an area of 47 square kilometers, the little fan-shaped town glimmers like a bright pearl in the landscape of lakes and mountains.
Endowed with another elegant name – ‘Pearl Stream’ – the little town is the best-preserved among the four ancient towns in Shanghai. Unique old bridges across bubbling streams, small rivers shaded by willow trees, and houses with courtyards attached all transport people who have been living amidst the bustle and hustle of the modern big city to a brand-new world full of antiquity, leisure and tranquillity.
Bridges in the Town
It is said that to visit Zhujiajaio without seeing the bridges means that you have not really been to Zhujiajiao at all! Bridges in the town are distinctive and old, built during Ming and Qing Dynasties. The old town is thoroughly connected by 36 delicate spans in different shapes and styles, from wooden to stone to marble.
Fangsheng Bridge (Setting-fish-free Bridge) is the longest, largest and tallest stone bridge, with five openings both in Zhujiajiao and in the Shanghai region. This bridge was built in 1571. On the bridge stands a stone tablet named Dragon Gate Stone, which is engraved with 8 coiling dragons encircling a shining pearl. On top of the bridge are 4 lifelike stone lions.
Lang Bridge (Veranda Bridge), also named Huimin Bridge, is the only wooden bridge and the most featured span in this town. It has wooden bars on the two sides and upturned eaves above, just like a narrow corridor.
North Street – Ancient Street
In the town, there is an ancient street filled with representative ancient buildings from the Ming and Qing Dynasties, attracting great numbers of domestic and foreign tourists. That is North Street, which is the best preserved ancient street in this suburb of Shanghai. Only one kilometer long, the whole street is at once primitively simple, yet very elegant. Strolling on this ancient thoroughfare and appreciating the historic buildings, long-established stores, and old bridges as well as the many narrow lanes is another enjoyment.
Ke Zhi Yuan (Course Plant Garden)
Zhujiajiao boasts imposing gardens as well as ancient dwellings built during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Among the ancient architecture, Ke Zhi Yuan is the largest manorial garden in the town. The garden is commonly named ‘Ma Family Garden’ after a former host named Ma Wenqin.
Located in Xijin Street in the northern part of town, Ke Zhi Yuan features beautiful sightseeing and quiet and secluded surroundings. It consists mainly of three parts, including a hall area, an artificial hill area and a garden area. In the artificial hill area, there is magnificent symbolic architecture – a foursquare five-story building, on the top of which stands a diametric pavilion named ‘Moon View Pavilion.’ This building is considered the tallest architecture in the town.
The scenic spots outlined here are just a sampling of the pretty attractions of Zhujiajiao. Old narrow lanes, peculiar stone hawsers on the riverside and old residences also make you enjoy yourself so much as to forget to go home.