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Panmen Gate

 Panmen Gate
Standing at the southwestern corner of the Suzhou City (sū zhōu shì 苏州市), Panmen Gate (pán mén 盘门) is the best preserved part of the ruins of the ancient city of Suzhou. The gate was constructed in the Spring and Autumn Period (chūn qiū shí qī 春秋时期). It was originally names as “蟠门"(pán mén) because there hanging the wooden dragon on the gate. And then its name was changed to “盘门". The present Panmen Gate was the one which was rebuilt in the end of the Yuan Dynasty (yuán cháo 元朝) and renovated during the following Ming and Qing dynasties (míng qīng shí qī 明清时期).

Panmen Gate looks very imposing with water gates and land gates towering side by side. There are two gates of the land gate, with city walls forming a square terrace of about 20 meters long on each side. The gate tower is with and up-turning eaves, equipped with all kinds of facilities needed in ancient defensive battles, such as shooting holes, sluice gateways and lookout towers. The water gate is to the south of the land gate, which also consists of double gates. Each gate has a huge sluice gate to control the water flow. Between the two gates, there is a secret door leading to the tower.

Wumen BridgePanmen Gate, together with Wumen Bridge (wú mén qiáo 吴门桥) and Ruiguang Pagoda (ruì guāng tǎ 瑞光塔), are the three worth-seeing scenic spots in Panmen Gate.

Wumen Bridge, which was originally built in the Northern Song Dynasty (běi sòng 北宋), is the highest and longest ancient stone one-arched bridge in Suzhou. In the Northern Song Dynasty, the bridge was called New Bridge (xīn qiáo 新桥), and constituted with two joint wooden bridges on the north bank and the stone bridge on the south bank, thus it is also called Three Bridge (sān qiáo 三桥). In the Southern Song Dynasty (nán sòng 南宋), the bridge was rebuilt into a three-arched stone bridge and renamed as Wumen Bridge. Then in the Qing Dynasty (qīng cháo 清朝), the bridge was changed into one-arched, constructed with granite from the Jinshan Mountain (jīn shān 金山), together with the Wukang stone (wǔ kāng shí 武康石). The whole bridge is 66.3 meters long, 4.8 meters wide in the middle. On the bridge, tourists can have a clear view of the gate tower of Panmen Gate and the Ruiguang Pagoda. In the river, there is a prosperous sight of boats sailing competitively in the Great Canal.

Wumen GateRuiguang Pagoda is 53.57 meters high, with a seven-storey octagon structure. It was originally an attached building of the Puji Temple (pǔ jì chán yuàn 普济禅院). The current pagoda was from the early years of the Northern Song Dynasty and its wooden part was ruined by going through several renovations during the Song, Ming and Qing dynasties. Climbing onto the pagoda and looking into the distance, tourists can have a bird’s eye view of the picturesque water-land in the Yangtze River Delta.

Panmen Gate
Location:
No. 1, Dongdajie Street (dōng dà jiē 东大街), Suzhou City
Admission fee: RMB 25
Opening hours: 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Transportation: you can take bus No. 1, 3, 101, 102, 103, and 701 to get there
 

 

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