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Suzhou Travel Guide

Suzhou, known as Wu, referred to the Soviet Union, also known as Suzhou, Jiang Ping, etc., one of big cities in East China, located in the southeast of Jiangsu Province, south of the Yangtze River, Taihu Lake east coast, the Yangtze River Delta Central.
Suzhou, with its unique landscape known as the "Chinese Garden City", known as "paradise on earth", "Oriental Venice", "Oriental Water City" reputation. Suzhou gardens is representative of Chinese private gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Suzhou has a long history, is one of China's first batch of 24 historical and cultural city, is the birthplace of Wu culture, the history of the long-term political, economic and cultural center of the southern region. Suzhou city was founded in 514 BC, the historian Gu Jiegang through research, that the city of Suzhou is one of China's extant ancient city.

Suzhou Culture:
Suzhou Pinghua is generally started with one person on stage, and the contents are mostly historical romance of shining spears and armored horses- a symbol of war in ancient China and earthshaking chivalrous heroes. Furthermore, Suzhou Tanci is a performing art mixing speaking and singing and completed by two persons. The left-hand person holds three-stringed plucked instrument and the right-hand person plays Chinese lute. Generally the actors sing while playing instrument. The contents are mainly the legendary novel and folk tales about lasting affection of boys and girls. Both the Pinghua and Tanci are known for the nuanced speaking and singing. The performances are featured with impressive soft voice. During the show, some jokes would be also applied to make the play full of wit and humor. The Tanci is sung with Wu Phonetics, which is characterized with vocal variety, soft and slow, various sound made by instruments, very pretty and sweet. Through generations of artists’ creative development, the tonality and genre are appeared and diversified. In the recent 40 years, the Pingtan (an art form of storytelling and ballad singing in Suzhou dialect) keep innovations whether in content or form; the traditional bibliographies are sorted and improved, the new adaptation are continuously emerge which reflecting the real life. The new performance forms of short stories and novellas are becoming better and approaching perfection gradually.
Performance Way
Suzhou Pingtan (an art form of storytelling and ballad singing in Suzhou dialect) can be said and sung, and generally classified as three ways which are single-person play, two-person co-act and three-person joint performance. The actors are all singing while playing instruments which are a small three-stringed plucked instrument and a Chinese lute. Its aria music belongs to the transformational style; its major tunes are (Shu Melody) which could apply in different works. Besides, the aria music also absorbs many Qupai and folk tunes, such as (Feijia Melody) and (Luanjiti), (Shu Melody) is the base of aria development, which forms various aria genres through different artists singing.

Suzhou Footprint:
Suzhou Garden is one of China's top ten scenic spots. In ancient Spring and Autumn Period, State of Wu established Gusu platform, Guanwa Palace, which was regarded as the start of the Suzhou garden architecture; in Eastern Jin Dynasty, Pijiang Garden built by Gu Pijiang is the earliest private garden in southern China. In the Five Dynasties, Qian Yuanxuan “was interested in managing gardens” in Suzhou, and the Nanyuan Park (obsolete) and existing Surging Wave Pavilion are both built at that moment. At the end of Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Huizong was interested in exotic flowers and weird stones, so he explored and transported a lot from Suzhou. . In the long-term feudal society, the gardens of Suzhou were abandoned and raised continuously; at the late Qing Dynasty, it was recorded there were more than 270 gardens in total and 69 are well-reserved gardens till now. The real meaning of Suzhou Garden is not merely an ordinary park of Suzhou but the general term of private gardens in Southern China; of which Surging Wave Pavilion of Song Dynasty, Lion Grove Garden of Yuan Dynasty, Humble Administrator's Garden of Ming Dynasty, and Lingering Garden of Qing Dynasty are known as the "Suzhou Four Famous Gardens".

Food and Snacks:
Suzhou is a food and culture center in eastern China as well as the flourish region of Su-style, one of the three major food culture areas (Ping, Su, and Cantonese Styles).
Famous Su-style Specialties: sweet and sour mandarin fish, stew bamboo bacon, fried crab meat tendon, stir-fried shelled shrimps, Suzhou first dish, stewed chicken with melon, quick-boiled pickled fish, swan-mussel, stew whole chicken with premium soy sauce, Taihu water shield soup, fried crab meal covered with meringue, cherry pulp, braised soy sauce pork, fumigated fish, fish lung soup, stew whole chicken-duck-pork shank, sweet ham meat, chafing dish, red date paste cake and so on.

Suzhou is also famous for its snacks: fry dumpling, jinjin dried bean curd, pine nut sugar, bechamel zongzi sugar, watermelon seed, shrimp roe fish, jujube paste sesame cake, square cake, victory cake, malus spectabilis cake, plum blossom cake, lard rice cake and so on.

The main food courts in Suzhou are: Taijian Lane, Shiquan Street, Xueshi Street, Ligong Levee, Fenghuang Street and etc. Bifeng Fang and Ligong Levee are famous food courts all over the country.

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