Signage for Zhujiajiao

Zhujiajiao is slightly less than thirty miles from Shanghai, but it feels worlds away. The village is a typical water town established under the Ming Dynasty. Once a mercantile center for textiles and rice, Zhujiajiao now welcomes tourists to its canals and traditional shopping area.

Canal at Zhujiajiao


Typical activities are strolling along the half mile Great North Street and taking a sampan ride along the waterways.

Great North Street is the best preserved street in Zhujiajiao, still bustling with craft and food shops. It’s a pleasant stroll with shade trees and picture post card views across the canal. Crafts include masks, bells, and flutes.



Shop Front










Interesting aromas also abound. One local street food delight is zongzi, the bamboo leaves surrounding a pork filling. Can’t tell you how it tastes, but it’s very popular.

Pork dish

View from a Sampan

My favorite part of the visit was viewing Zhujiajiao from a sampan. Watching the boatman reminded of the gondoliers of Venice.

Sampan Boatman

Canal sight










Fangsheng Bridge


Among the sights is Fangsheng Bridge, also known as ‘Fish Setting Free’ Bridge, one of thirty-six stone bridges spanning the waterways. Built in 1751 during the Ming Dynasty, the Fangsheng Bridge is the longest, largest, and tallest of the bridges. It also features the famous Dragon Gate Stone with eight coiling dragons surrounding a single shining pearl representing wealth.

Buddhism exerts a strong influence here, and Fangsheng Bridge is famous for the practice of freeing the fish by releasing them back into the water. The person returning the fish receives a blessing. Of course, there’s nothing to prevent the fish being caught and released again and again.

I enjoyed Zhujiajiao, though like many places we saw, the authorities had made it too perfect. But it was a beautiful, and we enjoyed being out of the city. I’ve added a CNN travel video so you can see more of Zhujiajiao.


Photos by Author. All Rights Reserved.

For More Information:

Zhujiajiao Ancient Town. Travel China Guide.


From Ancient Han to Bustling Shanghai

Before leaving Shaanxi Province for Shanghai, our tour group stopped at the Yangling Museum, also known as the Yang Mausoleum of Han. The occupants are Emperor Jing, the fourth emperor of the western Han, and his Empress Wang. The Han Dynasty followed Qin Shih Huang. This museum is unusual, because in order to protect the… Continue Reading

Terra-Cotta Warriors at Xi’an

In March 1974 peasants from Xiyang Village were sinking a well in an area south of their village. At the depth of 4.5 meters they encountered shards of pottery, bronze triggers and arrowheads, and a brick-paved floor. They reported their discovery to the Cultural Centre of Lintong County. The archeological team identified the pottery as… Continue Reading


The first official Decoration Day was on May 30, 1868 at Arlington Cemetery. General James Garfield gave a speech, and 5,000 participants decorated the 20,000+ Union and Confederate graves. Local observances soon took place throughout the country as a time to remember and a time to enjoy ceremonies, parades, and speeches. After World War I,… Continue Reading

XI’AN: Noodles & History

Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi Province, nestles between the Qinling Mountains to the south and the Wei River in the north. Even from the air, the area looks prosperous. Under the Tang Dynasty (618-907) Xi`an, then known as Chang-an, was one of the biggest international cities of its time, noted for its cosmopolitan population. The… Continue Reading


Once Chinese Emperors stood as the intermediaries between gods and humanity, the conduits of harmony and prosperity on earth. Twice a year the Emperor approached the gods for ritual prayer. In the spring, he prayed for a good harvest. In the fall, he expressed gratitude for the bounty received. In preparation for the rituals, the… Continue Reading


Once upon a time, perhaps around 1955, there were four career paths for women. In alphabetical order women could become nurses, secretaries, teachers, or wives. Wives, of course, didn’t work. [Note the fictional aspect here. Of course wives worked, and there were lots of jobs done by women. But technically a job isn’t a career.… Continue Reading


  In 1873 Father Damien accepted a call to serve people who lived with Hansen’s Disease on an isolated peninsula called Kalaupapa on the island of Moloka`i. Father Damien spent the rest of his life serving St. Philomina Catholic Church, building houses, schools, and hospitals, caring for patients and dressing their wounds, making coffins, digging… Continue Reading

Visit My Facebook PageVisit My Facebook PageVisit My Facebook PageVisit My Facebook PageVisit My Facebook PageVisit My Facebook Page