Shanghai

Trip Start Jun 16, 2008
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Trip End Jul 20, 2008


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Flag of China  , Jiangsu,
Saturday, July 5, 2008

Today I took a tour to the city of Suzhou.  It was about a 90 minute drive to get there.  Unlike Shanghai, this is an ancient city with about 2500 years of history.  My friend Catherine from Australia joined me on the tour today so it was fun to have a familiar face.










The first stop was Tiger Hill where we viewed an old pagoda.  Like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, this pagoda was leaning too.  It had seven levels which is a lucky Buddhist number.







Next we went to the Lingering Garden and Mountain Villa which was about 550 years old and one of the most famous gardens in China.











After lunch we visited Han Shan Temple.  Cold Mountain Temple, also called Hanshan Si in Pinyin, is situated five kilometers (about three miles) from Fengqiao Old Town in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province. It is said that in the Tang Dynasty, a famous monk Han Shan came to take charge of the temple, hence its name. Building originally commenced during the Liang Dynasty (502-557), and was repaired again in the following dynasties. Now, covering an area of about 10,600 square meters (about three acres), it presents the architectural style of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It includes the Grand Prayer Hall, Sutra-Collection Building, Bell Tower, Fengjiang Pavilion and Tablets Corridor, etc. In 1995, a five-storey Buddhism pagoda as high as 42 meters (about 138 feet) was erected called Puming Pagoda, which then became the symbolic building of the temple. There are many more historical relics in the temple, such as the statue of Han Shan, the stone tablet inscription of the poem A Night Mooring near Maple Bridge and some other tablet inscriptions written by famous intellectuals of ancient China.













In the evening I arrived back at my hotel at 6PM.  I took the long walk down Nanjing to the Bund.  From there I took a ferry boat across the river to see the other side.  I then walked to Jin Mao building which is 88 stories tall.  I took an elevator to the top for impressive views of lit up Shanghai.
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