Suzhou – known as the ‘Venice of the East’ – is built on a series of man made canals that link to the Grand Canal. The Grand Canal is also a man made river that flows from Beijing in the north to Hangzhou in the south, linking the Yellow River and Yangtze River. The oldest parts of the canal date back to the 5th century and were finally completed during the Sui dynasty (581–618 AD). The length of the Grand Canal is 1,776 km it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After a canal cruise we walked through the local market for a look at the local produce on sale. Not sure about the meat and seafood (no refrigeration) but the fruit and vegetables looked OK. The crowded street, sights and smells were memorable.
We then visited the Master of the Nets Garden which was first constructed in 1140 as a garden around a wealthy home. It has seen several redesigns and additional pavillions added over the centuries. The last owner of the house restord both the garden and house back to it’s original design and he donated it to the government on his death. Now open to the public it attracts many visitors; both local and international.
Our next stop is Hangzhou.