Suzhou is a major economic center and the second largest city in the province of Nanjing. It is located 100 km northwest of Shanghai. With over 2,500 years of history, Suzhou has an abundance of relics and historical sites and is an interesting side trip when in Shanghai or other nearby cities or provinces.
Our housemate couple was getting married and the bride-to-be was in the mood for shopping for clothes and a wedding dress. For that reason, we went to Suzhou one weekend via public bus from Kunshan Bus Terminal. We left the couple to do their shopping while we went to Tiger Hill Park nearby.
Tiger Hill (or Huqiu Mountain) has an altitude of 34.3 meters and covers a total area of 21.3 hectares (but of course, we weren’t able to measure the whole place. The hill consists of several sights which include the Sword Testing Stone, the Sword Pond, the Great Buddha Temple and Zhen Niang Tomb among many. On top of the hill stands a thousand-year-old, 48 meters high leaning Pagoda which is dubbed as the historic and cultural symbol of Suzhou.
It was said that the Emperor of Wu State buried his father in this hill during the Spring and Autumn period (770 – 476 BC) and legend has it that a white tiger was seen crouching on the tomb three days after the burial. From hence, the place got its name Huqiu (Tiger Hill).
Tales have it that the builders of the pagoda were slaughtered here upon completion of the project and that King He Lu’s swords were buried deep within this Sword Pond as funerary objects.
According to history, King He Lu who was a collector of rare swords used to test them upon this stone. The crevice on the huge one is one proof.
That is the tomb of Zhen Niang, a righteous girl who took her life rather than be dishonored.
We poked fun at the guide signs while traversing the peaks and swirly paths within the park. We went bonkers upon noticing this “omnivorous” inscription.
We apologize for being language nitpickers, but this one really struck a chord.
By noontime, our tummies started growling like crouching tigers so we started looking for food stalls and found a pizza stall with really great Mexican-style pizza. We thought we just found some hidden dragons, LOL!
Shortly after lunch, we took a boat which sailed around the whole nature park.
A famous poet Su DongPo from the Northern Song Dynasty once remarked, “It’s a great pity if one comes to Suzhou without visiting Huqiu.” Now we don’t have to pity ourselves for we have visited Fuqiu.
The Tiger Hill is a must-see destination if you’re in for a mix of culture and nature. You can visit for a short day trip from Shanghai or a part of a long China travel itinerary should you decide to stay longer in the country.
Except for the cover image from Pixabay, all photos were taken in 2008 using a dilapidated Sony Ericsson K790c camphone.