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Xitang

西塘

Civil residences south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River are famous for fresh and elegant styles and distinctive features.The ancient town of Xitang is a typical example of these dwellings.
Xitang is located in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province, between Shanghai and Hangzhou.Though small in size, this ancient town boasts a long history. It was first built in the Spring and Autumn Period , at the border between the states of Wu and Yue. The present layout had already taken place before the Song Dynasty, and the famous Wangxian Bridge is a legacy of the Song. By the Ming and Qing Dynasties, Xitang had become a renowned trade center for farm products, silks and ceramics, all produced in the surrounding areas and famous throughout the country.
Xitang is situated on the shores of Taihu Lake, with the Great Canal passing by it. There are nine winding rivers intersecting the town into eight blocks.Each house is located facing a river, as are the shops. Xitang people row small boats along the rivers to their destinations, instead of walking on foot through streets and lanes.Weeping willows and colorful flowers grow along the riverbanks, and flocks of water birds and white geese play on the water dotted with plants of floatingheart. Several hundred ancient bridages of different shaps and sizes arch over the rivers like crescent moons. Famous bridages include the Wufu, Wolong, Huanxiu, and Songzilaifeng bridages.Walking on the bridages is like walking along streets of the heavens. 

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