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Wuzhen, Back in Time
2005-12-02 09:00:52      CRIENGLISH.com

Photo by Liu Chi

Wuzhen, a town with a history of 1200 years, is just 50 minutes' drive from Hangzhou, the provincial capital of East China's Zhejiang Province. This small town,with its black tiled, oil-painted timber framework houses, that contrast sharply with its white walls and gray flagging, brings to mind a Chinese ink and wash painting. The river running through the town was once the main means of transportation for local people, but these days is little used, other than for festive celebrations, when bulk cargo is shipped in. The window sills of the houses on the banks of the river are further extended with boards, on which flowers, plants and bonsai bloom in the warm sunshine, adding a touch of life and color to this tranquil, oldstyle town.

Travel Express Vol.15: Ancient Towns in Zhejiang

When the Chinese opened the ancient riverine town of Wuzhen to visitors in early 2001, they were determined to avoid the tacky mix of tourist restaurants and souvenir shops that has swamped other nearby water towns. Wuzhen has been preserved rather than restored, lovingly kept rather than tarted up, and its ancient ways of life maintained. Most of all, Wuzhen is still a living town, where daily life goes on seemingly unimpeded by a growing trickle of visitors.

 

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