The Imperial Canal near Wuxi opening of the Grand Canal in the 7th c. Wuxi became a major centre for trade in rice and corn. In the early 20th c. the first textile factories soon opened up, and since the 1930s it has developed into a commercial and transport centre.
The Park of Tin and Mercy lies in the west of Wuxi at the foot of two charming hills, Tin Mountain (Xishan, 75m/246ft) and Mercy Mountain (Huishan); hence its name. The park covers an area of 46ha/115 acres and is home to numerous interesting historical monuments.
This spring, on the mountain of the same name, is also known as “The Second Most Beautiful Spring under the Heavens” (Tianxia Dierquan).
The Qianlong Emperor found the Garden of Delight (dating from the Ming period 1368-1644) so entrancing that he used it as a model for the “Garden of Harmony and Pleasure” which he had built at his summer palace in Beijing.
Lake Taihu lies a few miles south of Wuxi. It is 2200sq.km/850sq. miles in area, making it the fifth largest lake in China. It snuggles between wooded hills on the slopes of which crystal-clear springs bubble forth and beautiful gardens have been laid out.
The Garden of Plums on the northern bank of Lake Taihu is particularly attractive in spring, when thousands of plum trees are in blossom.
In the middle of the garden stands the Pagoda of Plums, built in the traditional style.
Turtle Head Peninsula – its shape is rather like a turtle’s head – forms the tip of a peninsula in the north of the lake.
The landscape here is quite fascinating, with steep cliffs and winding paths.
Three Hill Isle, 3km/2 miles west of Turtle Head, is a small garden floating on the water.
Sea-shell Garden, 5km/3 miles east of Turtle Head, is known for the artificial hills built on it. They are made of rough blocks of stone dug out from the bottom of Lake Taihu; such stones are also used in many other gardens in China.
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