If Suzhou Old Town was a blast from the past, then Ping Jiang Historic Quarters (平江路) maintains that image as the remnant of a piece of an ancient painting dating back to the earlier ages of civilization of China.
Located within the old town of Suzhou itself, Ping Jiang Historic Quarters, or Ping Jiang Road (Ping Jiang Lu in Chinese) is a like a typical scene reproduced directly from an ancient Chinese painting of the local neighbourhood.
Continuing from the charms of the old town; winding streets, bridges and canals leave little for one to doubt that they have escaped the appeals of the remains of history of the little water town.
Cobbled stones paving the walkways and inviting guesthouses, shops, teahouses lined along the canal and riverside are indeed a welcoming sight as one enters the historical road.
Like all the other parts of China, Ping Jiang Road is not spared from the consequences of war and modernization and signs of aging are clearly prominent on the white-washed walls and rusting steel on some of the buildings.
However, in spite of the development, the place has not lost its features as works of restoration and preservation continue to take place to maintain the glory of this once primary route in the olden days of the Sung Dynasty.
Yes, Ping Jiang Lu existed since the early days of civilization and thrived through the Sung and Ming Dynasties; gaining its importance and fame particularly during the Sung Dynasty where it is one of the main routes used in the city.
Measuring approximately 1,606 metres, as according to the estimation back then in the Sung Dynasty, the road is well-preserved to this day, though influences from the reigning dynasties remain evident in the structures of the buildings; from its arched roofs to the white walls and black roofs.
The beautiful overview of the entire Ping Jiang Historic Quarters is so enchanting that it seemed like a scene out of a painting.
It is this particular quality and its historical traits, besides its mesmerizing culture properly retained which earned it the UNESCO award of being Asia Pacific's Heritage Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation in the year 2005.
Works of conservation can often be spotted taking place in the rivers and the canals flowing under the bridges and through the cities in forms of these wooden boats.
Willowy tree leaves swaying in the wind, leaving traces of yellow everywhere and beautifully arched bridges over the peaceful flowing canals just paints images befitting of romance and serenity.
The typical scenes which take place on these cobbled streets are so vivid that it was said that some cannot differentiate whether these are scenes from a painting or are they in the painting themselves.
It is a quote well said, I must agree.
Enjoy a slow walk down the streets on a quiet afternoon, or on weekends, and take in that historical aura surrounding the place.
There are just many things to do on Ping Jiang Historic Quarters; from shopping, to enjoying a cup of tea by the waterfront, or reading a book, engaging in lively conversations with friends, watching people walking by, taking photographs, or even posting a mail to your families and yourself!
There is just endless possibilities of what one could do here; or simply, just sit back and relax, enjoying the scenes like it was in a painting.
To be continued with featured attractions and activities on Ping Jiang Lu...