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Zhujiajiao: the most beautiful bridges in China's Venice

art & culture

Forty kilometres southwest of Shanghai, 36 precious bridges span the canals of a water-filled city.

Weeping willows on the banks of the canal will transport you far from the skyscrapers of Pudong and back to the Qing and Ming dynasties, during the golden age of Zhujiajiao, a city built in the 17th century.

Stay away from the most prestigious area, and focus your attention on the canal area, called the ‘little Venice of Shanghai'. Sampans take the place of gondolas rowed by ‘gondoliers' wearing cone-shaped straw hats. Thirty-six bridges made of wood, brick, and stone span canals that have been called ‘the streets of a thousand small shops' since the Qing dynasty.

The most famous bridge, the Fansheng Quiao, is made of stone, and has five arches guarded by eight lions at the top. But perhaps you might prefer the beautiful Lang Quiao veranda bridge, all in wood with a grey tile roof. Zhujiajiaois evidence of another miracle: despite the many films that have been shot in this city, its people have kept an authentic lifestyle.


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