On the top of the hill towers the famous “leaning tower” of China, the Pagoda ofthe Cloud-rock Temple, dating from 961. Four hundred years ago the 47.5m/155ft high building beganto lean. For a longtimethe pagoda has been the emblem of Suzhou.
The Monastery of the Cold Mountain is situated on the city’s western edge on the banks ofthe Imperial Canal. In the Tang period (618-907) a poet sang the praises of the monastery: “At the Monastery of the Cold Mountain, behind the city of Suzhou, my boat is moored, the bells strike midnight”.
The site dates from the year 502, although the present buildings only came into existence in 1905. It is named after the prominent monk Hanshan (7th c.).
Items kept in the monastery include a few dozen stone tablets with inscriptions by well known personalities from earlier centuries.
The bronze bell which hangs on the right hand side ofthe main hall is a reproduction of a lost bell from the Tang era.
The Bridge of the Precious Belt, first built in 806, spans the Imperial Canal 3km/2 miles to the south-east of Suzhou. It is 317m/346yd long and has 53 arches.
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