Yangzhou Travel Guide
Awash in monuments of its former glory, Yangzhou is a great place to escape the urban grind and lose yourself in the relics of its cosmopolitan past.
For a small Chinese city, the abundance of historic sites substantiates Yangzhou's former reputation as one of southern China's economic and culture centers. Located at the junctions of the Grand Canal and the Yangtze and Huaihe rivers, its long history dates back to 500 BC.
Grand CanalIt was these waterways, linking Yangzhou to China's interior and major city centersthat helped Yangzhou develop into aprosperous city. During the Tang dynasty,Yangzhou was home to many foreigncommunities, including a large group of Persian traders. But it was the revitalizationof the Grand Canal and the massive influx offunds brought by the salt merchants andtheir monopolies during the Qing dynastythat allowed the Yangzhou to truly flourish.
It was amongst such settings that Yangzhou developed its rich story telling tradition, which frequently attracted the attention of the imperial court. In the wake of the imperial court flocked artists and their major patrons, mostly retired officials. The prosperity of the Tang dynasty gave scholars, painters, storytellers and poets the means to pursue their craft while the retiring officials, determined to live out their days in style, endowed temples, enclosed gardens and patronized the arts.
Though not completely able to stand the test of time, many relics of its past glory days still dot this languid city in Jiangsu Province. Its ancient joie de vivre of artists and eccentrics, a group of artists defying the painting conventions of the time, can be found through exploring the canals, tree-lined streets and arching bridges, which create charming scenes. If hordes of visitors from Nanjing and other surrounding cities make the major sites feel overrun, Yangzhou is well situated for a lazy amble. In the north and northwest parts of the city are numerous gardens and temples, while smaller than the major sites, provide a sense of the atmosphere and culture that made Yangzhou great.
Yangzhou Memorable Experience
Reading in the pagodas of the He Garden.
Drinking tea in the gardens and parks outside the Daming Temple.
Enjoying Yangzhou fried rice at any of the late night street side stalls on the Ximen Jie Food Street.