Rugao, a county-level city of Nantong, was founded in the Eastern Jin Dynasty more than 1600 years ago. Thousands of years of changes have left us a lot of historical and cultural legacies here. The East Street (Dongdajie) is the only remaining old street area in Rugao, running from Jinghaimen in the east and adjacent to Shuihui Garden. You can enjoy walking step by step in the 400-meter old street, which is interspersed with the narrow alleys of primitive simplicity.

 

Old Street · Feelings

The ancient street is located in the northeast corner of the old city of Rugao. The alley is narrow, leading to a secluded place. Even in ancient times, it could only accommodate two horses to pass side by side. Alleys are paved with pockmarked flagstone, which is the typical street style of the Southern Song Dynasty. The buildings are mostly tile-roofed houses with grey brick and wood structures. Those small and compact buildings retain the features of the late Qing Dynasty and the early Republic of China. With Inner River winding among the streets and Rutai Canal meandering by the city, you can imagine that back in the old days, East Street used to be the most prosperous commercial street in the city when water transportation was really developed.

Gate · Heritage

In the west of the city, beside the river, there is a north-south gate, called Jinghaimen, which is a modern restored ancient construction of Ming Dynasty. It has become a special “name card” in the ancient constructions of Rugao. On the gate, there is a pavilion with curved eaves and upturned beams and columns. When you step onto Jinghaimen, you can enjoy a marvelous view, overlooking Outer River protecting the city in the east and having a clear picture of the complicated old streets in the west.


Shuihui Garden · Romance

Along the stone road by the canal, you can reach the rear gate of Shuihui Garden. It is known as a secluded place for a pair of talented scholar and beautiful lady in the late Ming Dynasty, and also a model of classical Chinese gardens in Jiangnan Area (south of the Yangtze River). Shuihui Garden is famous for water flowing around the whole garden, forming picturesque view. Where the road is impassable, stone bridges cross the river, under which bamboo forests grow. Sometimes fish leap above water, showing great vitality, while sometimes pavilions set each other off, presenting a quiet and cozy atmosphere.

The old streets of Rugao bury the most profound memory. Every passer-by will hear the story of this old city from these streets, alleys and residences.

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