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Suzhou's Temples, Pagodas and Bridges



Overview

Over its long 2,500-year history, Suzhou has been home to hundreds of temples and pagodas, some of them housed with monasteries or nunneries, and most of them serving Buddhist worshippers.

In today's Suzhou and its surrounding area, a number of these temples and pagodas remain, renovated to preserve their historical/cultural value as well as to provide places of religious observance for their followers. Among the various temples locally, the most famous and oft-visited Buddhist temples include Hanshan Temple, West Temple, North Temple, Lingyan Temple (in Mudu), and Situ Temple (in Guangfu). The Confucius Temple on Renmin Road is a popular (and worthwhile) site for those interested in Confucianism, while the Taoist Temple of Mystery (Xuan Miao Guan) hosts hundreds of visitors daily from its centrally-located site in the Guan Qian Shopping District.

Of course, no visit to Suzhou is complete without a trip to see the Yunyan Pagoda at Tiger Hill. A well-known saying from Tang Dynasty poet Su Dongpo advised that, "to visit Suzhou and not see Tiger Hill is a pity." Visible from elevated points all over the city, this famously leaning pagoda is popularly considered to be Suzhou's unofficial city symbol, so much so that it has even been featured on a Chinese postage stamp.

In addition to Tiger Hill's leaning pagoda, the city features the nine-story wooden pagoda at North Temple situated in a predominant location at the north end of Renmin Lu, the Ruiguang Pagoda near Panmen Gate in the city's southwestern corner, and the Twin Pagodas located in the Luohanyuan Temple just off Fenghuang Street near its intersection with Gan Jiang Road.

There are, of course, many "lesser" temples, pagodas, and bridges around the city, but those accessible in the links below constitute a good place to start. It should be noted as well that several Christian churches and Islamic mosques operate in the modern city. They are not currently included on this site simply because they are of little interest to visiting tourists. 

Finally, there are the bridges. A city of canals is necessarily a city of bridges, and Suzhou's most famous ones are ancient and historical in nature. While there are many from which to choose, the most famous are Maple Bridge (Feng Qiao) near Hanshan Temple, the 53-arch Precious Belt Bridge (Bao Dai Qiao) just southeast of the city, and the nine-arch Xingchun Bridge on the northern shore of Stone Lake.


Temples, Pagodas, and Bridges

  Tiger Hill (Yunyan Pagoda) 

  North Temple Pagoda (Bei Si Ta) 

  Hanshan Temple

  Maple Bridge (Feng Qiao)

  West Temple

  Confucius Temple

  Taoist Temple of Mystery (Xuan Miao Guan)

  Twin Pagodas

  Ruiguang Pagoda at Panmen Gate

  Bao Dai Qiao (Precious Belt Bridge)

 Xumen Gate and Wannian Bridge

 Xingchun Bridge at Stone Lake




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