Zhouzhuang

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Traditional Settlements 

Zhouzhang is a tranquil ancient town on the southern side of the Yangtse river. It was set up as a town in Song dynasty, and is now subordinate to Kunshan County of Jiangsu Province. The town proper has an area of 40 hectares and a population of 2,000 people. The town is crisscrossed by a network of canals, which are spanned by 14 stone arch bridges. There are many traditional houses of Ming and Qing dynasties which are connected by narrow alleys called Xiang. More than 60 percent of the present builings date from Ming and Qing dynasties. Especially the town has huge and beautifully organized residences of Ming dynasty such as Zhang's residence. Zhang's residence has a width of 5 bays and a depth of 5 Jin (house-unit). Shen's residence, the largest house at Zhouzhuang, is located near Fuan Bridge over the central canal. It consists of the buildings surrounding 5 courtyards which are longitudinally laid out. It has a width of 5 bays and a depth of about 90m. It was built in 1742. The two residences show the lives and culture of the millionaires who dwelled there.

Settlement Layout

a view of the canal in front of Shen's residence, which shows the elements consisting of the townscape of Zhouzhuang, canals, bridges, boats and rows of houses

main gate of the town

row of houses along river

Xiang, narrow alley paved with slates

repetition of building and yard in Shen's residence

yard surrounded by buildings in Shen's residence

a large hall at the second floor of Shen's residence where the Chinese plays used to be performed

inner space of Zhang's residence where could be reached by boat

yard of Zhang's residence

inside of Zhang's residence