Xitang – An Ancient Water Town Close to Shanghai and Hangzhou

By Sophia Yee, painter

I visited to Hangzhou, China a in October, 2012, took a trip to Xitang, which is about 120 kilometers northeast of Hangzhou and 90 kilometers south of Shanghai.


An ancient Water Town has more than 2500 years of history since the time of Spring-Autumn period. This ancient Water Town has three wonders; endless corridors, high foot bridges, and many narrow twisted lanes, the buildings featured Ming and Qing dynasty’s architect and gardens, and many traditional pastry shops and local treats yet people here live a very modern life style; there are some western coffee shops, modernized hotels with Wi-Fi internet services, and teahouses with a contemporary settings.




According to chinahighlights.com, something that makes Xitang so special is the number of bridges that it contains. The city has 104 bridges, each built in varying styles spanning the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Some look like rainbows over the river and others like long flutes. Life for Xitang locals is calm and easy, full of comfort and peace, no difference from the lifestyle of their ancestors thousands of years ago. The elderly play with their grandchildren on the bridges and in the lanes, and women wash vegetables and clothes in the rivers that run beside their houses. If you need a break from the stresses of Shanghai, there’s really no better place for chilling out and experiencing the quieter side of Chinese life.

You can find out more about Xitang in the following Youtube video.

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