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Tiger Hill

虎丘

Lying to the west of the ancient city of Suzhou with a history of over 2,500 years, the Tiger Hill has the reputation of being No.1 Sight of the Wu region. "It would be a loss if you miss the Tiger Hill in your visit to Suzhou," said the Song poet Su Dongpo.

There are three ideal vantage points and nine different ways of enjoying the sights of the hill under nine different weather conditions. Though only 36 meters in height, the hill impresses the visitor with its sheer cliffs and deep ravines normally found in famous mountains. The Sword Pond conceals the secrets of the Tomb of King Wu with his valuable swords. At the top of the hill stands the Learning Tower of Suzhou, a brick pagoda dating from the 2nd year of Jianlong reign of the Northern Song Dynasty and serving as the landmark of the ancient city. There are beautiful legends about the Hall of Broken Beam, the Sword Testing Stone, the Thousand Men's Rock, the Nodding Stone, and other historical relics.

The 36-meter-tall Huqiu (Tiger Hill) stands outside the lumen Gate to the north west of Suzhou. It was where the King of the State of Wu( a small state in the Spring and Autumn Periods over thousands of years ago) Fu Chai, buried his father-Helu along with 3,000 swords. Legend has it that on the third day after the burial, a white tiger appeared to guard the tomb, hence the name of the hill.

Midway up the hill beside the Qianren (Thousand Men) Rock, there is the rectangular crystal-clear Sword pond flanked by sheer cliffs. It is said that both Qin Shihuang, the first emperor of Qin Dynasty (221-207 B.C.), and Sun Quan of the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280), had sent people to search the swords by digging into the hill but no avail. The Sword Pond is believed to result from the digging.

According to records, the door of He Lu's tomb was revealed once when the pond went dry. Archaeologists speculated that the tomb is right below the Tiger Hill Pagoda. This pagoda, first built in the Five Dynasties Period, is an octagonal seven-storey structure. Since the Ming Dynasty, it started tilting northwards, which has been supposed to be caused by the tomb's structure.

The Yunyan Temple, another key attraction on the hill, is one of the most famous Buddhist land in this part of China. Even Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty could not resist its peaceful ambience so he decided to make the temple his temporary residence during his Suzhou trip.

Lu Yu Well: Lu Yu was an authority on the art of tea and wrote the first ever book on the subject entitled 'The Treatise of Tea'. As an old man, he lived on Tiger Hill and it was here that he wrote the final part of his book. Lu Yu excavated the well and declared that the water from it was the third best in all China. Consequent upon the research and teaching of Lu Yu tea growing and consumption came to be important factors in the daily life of the citizens of Suzhou.

Verdant Mountain Villa: Built in the tenth year of the reign of Emperor Guangxu of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) the villa is a masterpiece of the splendid gardens for which Suzhou is so famous. The Verdant Mountain Villa (Yongcui Shanzhuang) was designed so that it embraced the natural vistas and views from the halls and porches are most pleasing to the eye.

Wanjing Villa: The ancient art of bonsai tree growing originated in China and there are thousands of magnificent specimens on display at this villa. Many of the specimens you can see have been awarded prize palms in prestigious bonsai competitions. The miniature replicas of full sized gardens are sure to amaze you and will give an insight into the skill and artistry of Chinese master gardeners that has been handed down from long ago.

There can be little doubt that Tiger Hill is a wonderful sight with its leaning pagoda, waterfalls and landscaped paths. It is hard to believe that the hill was man made to be the burial place of king but this is yet another part of the wonder that is China, a land that will never cease to amaze and enthral the visitor with its heritage.

Admission Fee: CNY 60 (Apr.16 - Oct.30)
CNY 40 (Oct.31 - Apr.15)
Bus Route: 8, 49, Tourism Bus No. 1 & 2


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