Zhouzhuang (周庄), lying 30 kilometres away from Suzhou. A lot of the original, historic buildings in Suzhou were demolished, so Zhouzhuang is one of the few places where true regional architecture can still be seen. It is probably the most famous and popular of the four water towns, welcoming tourists since the 1980s. The story behind its rise to national attention is quite interesting. In 1984, Chinese painter Chen Yifei held an exhibition in New York, including a painting of the Twin Bridges in Zhouzhuang. A wealthy art patron bought it and gave it as a gift to Deng Xiaoping on a visit to China the following month. It wasn’t just Chen Yifei who took inspiration from the Twin Bridges. It, and the 13 other stone bridges, have been the subject of countless artists’ work over the years. The Twin Bridges are the collective name for Shide and Yongan – two Ming era bridges positioned at right angles over the water.
The Fu'an Bridge is the oldest in Zhouzhuang, built in 1355, and now houses tea houses and shops within its towers. Other attractions in the town include two stately homes (Zhang and Shen) built and inhabited by local medieval lords, and the Milou Tower.