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- WUZHEN -
 

 - a Tang Dynasty water town -
 
 
 


Wuzhen
- the part of Wuzhen, which has NOT yet made into a tourist attraction -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)






Let me tell you right away, that a part of Wuzhen is on the "Tourist Trail", and whenever that happens the spirit and the soul of a place will normally disappear forever!
However,- in the case of Wuzhen there are still great possibilities for the serious traveller!

Wuzhen is centered along a canal system named after the directions, north, south, east and west.
The "South Street" area is now restored, and appears as it would have looked in the late Quing Dynasty.  It is totally geared for tourism, and the beautiful old houses now mainly contains restaurants and souvenir shops.  A huge parking lot for the many tourist busses are made, and you have to pay a fee to get access to the restored area - - -
The result is that this part of Wuzhen is VERY crowded,- and it does indeed spoil a lot of the attraction that this old town really holds - - - if you can see it for people!

However,- if you go to the areas of Wuzhen, which is NOT geared towards mass tourism, you will be heavily rewarded - -
Everything is still there,- unspoiled -, and you see NO tourists!  They are all kept at the "South Street"!  But you can meet the local people, who run their barber shops, dentist's clinics, pharmacies, restaurants and local shops, as they have always done,- and you have children, cats and rusty bikes in the streets- - - and it is GREAT - - -

Therefore,- most of the pictures I have chosen to submit here on the following pages about Wuzhen are from the unspoiled  "North Street", while I only put few pictures from the restored tourist area around "South Street".
See for yourself which one is best - - -
 
 


Wuzhen
- a Ming dynasty bridge,- old and overgrown -, but still in use -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 


Wuzhen
- the same bridge again, old, worn, and full of soul - and Kit Yu enjoying the magic -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 


Wuzhen
- and another magnificent old bridge -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 


Wuzhen
- Kit Yu passing the bridge,- entering the street system along the old canal -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 


Wuzhen
- the street running parrallel to the canal -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 


Wuzhen
- a beautiful city house,- good harmony -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 


Wuzhen
- fast food shop -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 


Wuzhen
Never seen a "Foreign Devil" before????
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 


Wuzhen
- in deep wonder -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 


Wuzhen
- Kit Yu exploring the maze of narrow and dark alleyways and courtyards behind the main streets -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)



At this point it is necessary with some explanation - -
Normally you do not very easily get access to a Chinese home, but since Kit Yu was my travel companion ,- and of course knew the Chinese language -, a lot of doors opened for us!
At one point we were riding a bicycle taxi,- and Kit Yu and the "driver" started to talk!  When he found out that we looked for historical and cultural things,- including old, original houses -, he told us that his family once lived in such an old house.
The house was still there, but now inhabited by an old woman, whom he knew well - - -
He suggested that we went there,- and of course I could not say NO to such an offer!

The trip to the "old woman's house" also introduced us to another side of the design of Wuzhen!  From the main roads, - parallel to the canals -, there are small openings, like holes in the wall -, which gives access to hidden courtyards behind the main street!  Sometimes not only one, but several small, very picturesque courtyards,- one after the other -, connected by very long, and very dark passages!

An adventurous soul has struck gold here - - - -

Please enjoy my impressions from the visit to "the old woman's house",- hidden away, far behind the main road!
 
 


Wuzhen
- at the inner courtyard,- "the old woman's house" -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 


Wuzhen
- and here she is inside her fine old house -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 


Wuzhen
-  receiving friends from far away -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 


Wuzhen
- the old, carved stairway leading to the upper floor -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 


Wuzhen

In the courtyards, - hidden from the outside World in a maze of dark and narrow alleyways -, you will also find fantastic old stone buildings, telling stories of days of glory from a time long, long ago - - -
Just take a look at this main entrance - - -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 


Wuzhen
- and the maze of alleyways also hide fantastic old wooden buildings -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 


Wuzhen
- here a contrast between old carved wall details, - and a modern motor bike -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 


Wuzhen
- old wooden wall with carved panels, - and Kit Yu taking photos -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 


Wuzhen
- back in the main street again, - and Wuzhen girls, - surprise, surprise -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 


Wuzhen
- the main street parallel to the canal -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 


Wuzhen
- the main street in old Wuzhen as seen from a by-cycle taxi -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 


Wuzhen
- canal view -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 


Wuzhen
Another view from the main street
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)

The gate in the background is a passage through an old fire wall. This kind of fire wall you can find in many, many old Chinese cities - -
 
 


Wuzhen
- street life, - as seen through the old fire wall - -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 


Wuzhen
- and here the end of the main street, - ending at another old bridge -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 


Wuzhen
- a final look along the canal at original part of town -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 

Click  HERE  for images from the restored part of Wuzhen -
 

BACK  to "China's water towns"





Updated:  June 4. 2003.
               Nov. 18th. 2004
               Oct.29.2006
               Oct.31.2006