Introduction to the Taihu Lake

The Taihu Lake, known as Zhen Ze in ancient times and also called Five Lake, is the China’s third largest fresh water lake, accommodating 48 big and small islets and 72 peaks in its 2000 plus km2. With natural beautiful views of lake and mountain accompanying each other, rich and supplementary, the Taihu Lake is famous for the saying “Taihu Lake View Tops the World”. The Lake has a total coastline of 405 km; it is 1.89m deep on average. The topography of the lake bottom shows the lake basin tilts from the east to the west. The lake base has the shape of a plate; the lake surface is like a crescent protruding westwards. The lakes and crossing rivers distributing around connect the Taihu Lake with the surrounding lakes, forming a view of the featured Jiangnan water township. The essential beauty of Taihu resides in Wuzhong. Suzhou (Wuzhong) Taihu Lake Scenic Area is located by the Taihu Lake at the southwesternThe Taihu Lake, known as Zhen Ze in ancient times and also called Five Lake, is the China’s third largest fresh water lake, accommodating 48 big and small islets and 72 peaks in its 2000 plus km2. With natural beautiful views of lake and mountain accompanying each other, rich and supplementary, the Taihu Lake is famous for the saying “Taihu Lake View Tops the World”. The Lake has a total coastline of 405 km; it is 1.89m deep on average. The topography of the lake bottom shows the lake basin tilts from the east to the west. The lake base has the shape of a plate; the lake surface is like a crescent protruding westwards. The lakes and crossing rivers distributing around connect the Taihu Lake with the surrounding lakes, forming a view of the featured Jiangnan water township.

The essential beauty of Taihu resides in Wuzhong. Suzhou (Wuzhong) Taihu Lake Scenic Area is located by the Taihu Lake at the southwestern corner of the Suzhou-Paradise on Earth. There is Suzhou Taihu National Tourist Resort, Dongshan Scenic Spot, Qionglong Shan Scenic Spot and Wangshan Scenic Spot. Blue waters, green hills, misty islets and sporadic sailing boats make the beautiful view of lake and mountain supplement with the ancient cultural and historical sites spreading among the waters and mountains of the Taihu Lake, as if presenting a super beautiful landscape painting of Jiangnan. With vast bluish waves, dawn light and dusk rain, mists and shines, the Lake enjoys changeable natural views. Its landscape is characterized by virility and elegance, which is different in seasons. The feelings are largely different between in the morning and in the evening. Furthermore, the mountains around and islets inside integrate beauty and elegance, and enable a feel of refreshment.

The Taihu Lake is the birthplace of the Wu culture and is a natural historic and cultural museum. At the Paleolithic Age about ten thousand years ago, there were ancient people living in the region of Wu. At the Neolithic Age five thousand years ago, the region created the advanced “Liang Zhu Culture”. Over three thousand years ago, Tai Bo founded the “Gou Wu” State in the region of Wu and created historic records. In 221 B.C, Qin Shi Huang unified China, setting “Wu County”, whose name was used until the 20th century. Wuzhong has 3 Chinese historic and cultural famous towns, i.e. Mudu, Luzhi and Dongshan, 2 provincial historic and cultural famous towns, i.e. Guangfu and Jinting, 2 Chinese historic and cultural famous villages, 11 city-level control ancient villages, and 91 relic preservation units at various levels (including 7 national units, 16 provincial units and 68 city-level units); the region tops other counterparts across China in terms of the number of relics kept in museum. In recent years, under scientific protection of Wuzhong District, the three cultural features of ancient villages, “Land of Fish and Rice-Taihu Lake”, “Native Place of Merchants and Rich Families”, and “Village with Simple Folkway” are increasingly displaying themselves. The Luxiang Ancient Village originating from the South Song Dynasty is lauded as “Taihu Lake First Ancient Village” and “Mountain Village by Taihu Lake”. This ancient village has 72 large-scale Ming and Qing architectural halls, of which over 20 are well preserved today. It is also the native place of Prime Minister Wang Ao during the Zhengde Period of the Ming Dynasty who was praised as “top the world with his articles, be the only in the mountain as prime minister”. In the modern times, because the place produced three academicians of Chinese Academy of Science, i.e. Wang Daheng, Wang Shouwu and Wang Shoujue, Luxiang is also lauded as “Village of academicians” at home and abroad. The ancient village Ming Yue Bay (Bright Moon Bay) got its name from the story that in the Spring and Autumn Period over 2500 years ago, King Wu Fu Chai took beauty Xi Shi to jointly appreciate the moon. The ancient village was famous as early as in the Tang Dynasty. Great poets Bai Juyi, Pi Rixiu, Lu Guimeng and Liu Changqing etc once arrived here and composed poems in admiration of the bright moon. The Ming Yue Bay lies by mountain and lake, surrounded by mountains in three sides. Green through out the year, the village hides itself and provides a feel of the Peach Blossom Valley. Inside the village, old camphor trees, bluestone benches, chessboard streets and Ming and Qing Dynasty architectures are well preserved, as the saying goes “Rives embrace green mountains which hold flowers, the place of flowers houses families.” Ancient towns, ancient villages, ancient islets and other historic and cultural landscapes are like bright stars spotting among rivers and mountains of the Taihu Lake; they can top the work in quantity and level. In this historic corridor of Wuzhong, Military Sage Sun Wu, Calligraphy Sage Zhang Xu, Sculpture Sage Yang Huizhi, Embroidery Sage Shen Shou, North Dynasty Famous Politician Fan Zhongyan, Kuai Xiang, the Ming Dynasty architect in charge of building Beijing Imperial Palace and a great number of other historic celebrities have left living prints here.

“Beautiful Lake Taihu; beautiful Lake Taihu. The beauty is the water of the lake. On the water there’re white sails; under it there’re red water chestnuts; beside it there’s green reed; at the bottom, there’s rich fish and shrimps. The water weaves irrigation net. Good smell from rice and fruit flies around.” Folk song Beautiful Lake Taihu depicts its elegant and agreeable landscape over 36,000 hectares and describes its rich products. The Taihu Lake Basin has long since been famous as a land of fish and rice, as expressed in the old saying “The 800 mile Taihu Lake is an endless source of fishes and shrimps.” Loquat, waxberry, orange, silver fish, white shrimp, crab, and Biluochun Tea etc are well known far and wide; embroidery, carving, silk tapestry, architecture process, bronze casting, Guqin making, painting mounting and other unique fine techniques and skills were favored by royal families and folks in history and have become representatives of China Suzhou School of Arts.

Here the lake is not deep but vast; the mountain is not high but elegant. Peaks slightly show over waves; scenic spots spread among waters and mountains of the Taihu Lake. Far, middle-distant and close views combine in a comfortable manner; sunny, cloudy and rainy weathers offer different feels; spring, summer, autumn and winter have distinct features. In spring, the Lake is silent and vital; in summer, the Lake is enthusiastic and brisk; in autumn, the Lake is dynamic and pretty; in winter, the Lake is blessed and lovely. A sip of Biluochun tea, a spoon of water shield, a waxberry, a loquat… walk through four seasons of the Taihu Lake to witness branches contain rich milk of Mother Taihu Lake. No matter it is sunny and cloudless or no matter it is windy and rainy, the Taihu Lake will for good be the most beautiful and lovely


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