Basic Facts of Tongli
Location: in Wujiang, Jiangsu Province
Area: 102.91 square kilometers
Tongli, which belongs to Wujiang in Jiangsu Province, is located along the bank of Tai Lake, 80 kilometers away from Shanghai Hongqiao Airport in the east and 18 kilometers away from Suzhou in the north. It is known as a land of attractive resources and magical power, also a birth place of creative minds and gifted talents. The distinctive feature of Tongli is its abundancy in Ming and Qing architectures, small bridges, and personages. There are 38 ancient gardens and manors, 47 religious and memorial temples, not to mention the numerous former redsidences of local personalities. Besides, more than 20 natural attractions also reveal the beauty of this water town.
Tongli features 3 bridges (Taiping Bridge, Jili Bridge and Changqing Bridge). A custom in Tongli goes that people go across the three bridges to get rid of evil spirit while praying for blessing. It is believed that, after walking across the three bridges, children will become cleverer, old people will become healthier, and girls will be even prettier. The bridges also play an important part in wedding ceremony, while bride and groom will carry a sedan chair and walk across the three bridges in Chinese drum music, symbolizing that they would be happily married for a lifetime.
What to do in Tongli
Entertainment in Tongli is quite old-fashioned but also charming, featuring traditional teahouses. The teahouse in Tongli provides different refreshments such as smoked lima-beans, dried turnip, etc in addition to various black tea, green tea and scented tea. Accounting house and “tiger stove” are downstairs while an opera are performed upstairs where visitors can enjoy Jiangnan Sizhu Classical Music, Xuanjuan, Pingtan, drama, ditty, etc. From Chinese Lantern Festival(fifteenth day of Chinese New Year, usually on Feburary) to March, there are successive dram performances in Tongli, and people come in flock to enjoy them.
It mainly indicates inside-painting snuff bottle. Inside painting is an artistic form appreciated from the outside which is painted on the inner wall of transparent vessel. Inside-painting snuff bottle is a work of art specially for appreciation instead of its original function of smoke container.
Tongli carving mainly includes micro carving, stone carving and root carving, famous for the delicate appearance and amazing workmanship.
Though Tongli is not in possession of various fancy restaurants, the local snacks are worth trying for sure. Cake of Min family(闵饼), dated back to more than 400 years ago, is the specialty of Ben Tang Zhai in Min Jia Wan as well as a kind of renowned traditional cake. Qian Shi (芡实),crowned as "ginseng in water",is originally made in Xi Bei Dang in Tongli. According to Chinese medical theory, Qian Shi can improve people's hearing and eye-sight, and also strenthen the function of kidney and stomach. Champion Hoof tastes glutinous and scrumptious but not greasy, only leaving the lingering scent.
When shopping in Tongli, Ming and Qing Old Street shall be on the top of your list, since it gathers almost all the specialities of the town and providing you with a charming old-fashioned shopping experience. The original style of the old street are well preserved, veiling the street with great sense of history and also mystery.