Architectural Features of Wuzhen

Wuzhen is one of the well-preserved old towns in the Jiangnan region. since the town was established in 872 AD, Wuzhen has never changed. Since its establishment in 872 CE (Common Era) during the Tang Dynasty, this water town has grown and prospered maintaining a strong identity and life style under its original birth name of Wuzhen.

Water Chamber Water ChamberWuzhen

Water chamber is a unique architecture form in Wuzhen.

The structure is really special.

Behind the waterside part of the house, people make wooden or stone poles to stand in the river, and then they put beams on them and put wooden boards on the beams, thus it forms the water chamber.

The formation of water chamber mainly because most of the people in town do business.

The left and right parts of the house are neighbors, and front part is street, thus, constructing water chamber is the only way to expend business area.

It not only expands the house area but also a convenient place to do business.

Carved Brick 2Wuzhen

With a typical Hui-style architecture, the buildings in Wuzhen mainly are constructed with white wall and black tiles.

The environment of the south part of China is rich in colorful flowers throughout the year.

The exterior walls of residential buildings are mostly white, which is good for reflecting sunlight.

Especially in the summer, the colors of houses are simple and elegant, giving a fresh and pleasant feeling.

The general carving patterns are animals, plants and character stories, which functions as a symbol of longevity and happiness.

That is an expression of good wishes of the ancient people.

Beauty Bench 2Wuzhen

Along the riverside of corridor shed, there are always backrest benches for people to rest which are called “beauty bench”.

We have an old saying "the longer sitting on the bench the younger and more beautiful you can become". It's a pleasant thing to sit on beauty bench and watch the shadow of houses in the river.

The name of beauty of bench was related to Beauty Shih Tzu. In the Spring and Autumn Period, Wuzhen was located in the border between the countries of Wu and Yue. The beauty Shih Tzu was born in the country of Yue.

When she was sent the country of Wu, she was homesick, so the king of Wu built such a facility for her to rest, so called beauty bench.

Bridge 2Wuzhen

As a water town, Wuzhen has extensive watercourse and various bridges. It has up to 120 bridges and is said that there would be a bridge every one hundred steps.

In Wuzhen West Scenic Zone, we have conserved part of the old bridges and preserved some of them.

There are historical stone bridges, simple stone arch bridges and exquisite brick stone bridges, among which the majority are stone arch bridges.

Impluvium 8Wuzhen


Impluvium is an architectural feature in the south of Yangtze River delta, designed for lighting and carrying away the rainwater. Because the rain comes through the compluvium of the roof, this kind of residential layout is commonly known as "si shui gui tang", which means money and treasures will be plentiful.

Zhaoming Academy Zhaoming Library 4Wuzhen

The site was named after Xiao Tong, who was the crown prince of Liang (502-557) of the Southern Dynasties and endued the name Zhaoming after dying.

He once followed his teacher Shenyue to study in Wuzhen and built an academy here.

The Analecta edited and compiled by Xiao Tong was the first florilegium of poems and proses in China.

Alley 2Wuzhen

A narrow passageway in south China is called alley and “Hutong” in north China.

In ancient times, “Nong” referred to the narrow lane in palace and “Tang” in a temple, and gradually it got the mixed name “Nong Tang” which means alley still used today.

Water Chamber 3Wuzhen

Wu Village

Wu Village, located 500 meters north of Wuzhen West Scenic Zone, is a historic ancient village adjacent to Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal. The guesthouses in Wu Village are renovated from rural houses with a small courtyard. There are guesthouses of Peach Orchard, Harvest, Fishing Family, Bamboo, Mill, Wine Lane and Youth. Locally , we call them groups.

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