Suzhou was built 2,500 years ago, and was founded in 514BC. The city is situated on the lakeside of Taihu, and is built around canals, which criss-cross the city. As a result, the city is known as the "Venice of the East." Suzhou's beauty is exemplified by its 60 classical gardens. Because of its incredible beauty, there is a saying, "There is Paradise above and Suzhou and Hangzhou below."
Located in northwest Suzhou lies Tiger Hill (Huqui). Tiger Hill is the burial site of the father (He Lu) of the King of State of Wu, Fu Chai, who was buried along with 3,000 swords. Legend states that following the burial, a white tiger appeared and guarded the tomb, thus the name, "Tiger Hill." There is speculation that the tomb rests below the Tiger Hill Pagoda. The pagoda was first built in the Five Dynasties Period. It is octagon in shape with seven stories.
Situated in the suburbs of Suzhou, lies the Hanshan Temple. The Temple was first built between the years 502 - 519BC. Two eminent monks, Han Shan and Shi De once resided on the site, thus the name. The Temple is famous throughout China for its bells. The famous poet of the Tang Dynasty, Xhang Ji, immortalized the bells with his words, "Beyond the Suzhou walls, the Hanshan Temples...Ring bells, which reach my boat." On every Chinese New Year's eve, the bells ring 108 times to welcome in the New Year.
The Lingering Garden, which is one of the four major Gardens in China, was built during the reign of Emperor Jia Qing of the Ming Dynasty (1522 - 1566AD). The expansive garden is landscaped in the traditional Ming style, with its pavilions stretched along the water, surrounded by flowering shrubs and trees, and stone bridges. The gardens are masterfully done and represent an enchanting aspect of Chinese history and culture.