Have you heard of the Venice of the East? Yes, it is located in the western side of Shanghai, China. You can tour this ancient town by a canal gondola. Zhujiaojiao is the most popular and nearest water village from the main city, with a signature five-arch bridge along the Cao Gang River. Read on for more on its historical value.
Zhujiajiao is only one of the few ancient water towns in the suburbs of Shanghai. I chose to see this village because it was only a one-hour bus ride from the city proper (People’s Square bus terminal). These ancient towns are said to date back from the Ming and Qing dynasties, and Zhujiajiao is the most preserved one. It is about 1,700 years old and the residents do all that they can to best maintain the traditional customs and heritage of the place.
Water towns were established along the many waterways such as rivers in China as they were mainly used before for communication and supplies distribution. As we visited the place, we can see very old houses and temples lined up along the canals with several bridges. The town itself is small and compact, currently with 40,000 residents. It is expected to be peaceful and quiet, a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
I strolled along the narrow streets, over the many stone bridges and took a boat tour or gondola ride for 120Y. I even bought fishes to be set free in the river because locals there say that you can make a wish while doing so and brings good luck. As advised, this is the perfect way to see the best view of the town. The small gondolas can actually seat six people, and they offer two kinds of trips, the short distance (60Y per boat) and long distance (120Y per boat). The short distance will only take you up and down the main canal, while the long distance basically takes you all over town and back. Tickets are available in the small wooden ticket booths that can be found next to all major tourist sites in town.
Check out the website for more details of the place.