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Heritage of Wisdom and Cultural Renaissance in Wuzhen

View of Wu Zhen
A historic water town in the lower Yangtze region of Jiangnan, Wuzhen is located north of Tongxiang in the province of Zhejiang in China. With the ancient Grand Canal (linking up Beijing and Hangzhou, over 1700 km apart) passing around the town, the waterways dissect the town in four sections. The East Gate and West Gate areas complement one another as a new vacation resort scenic area—Wucun, situated 500 meters from the northern edges of the West Gate area, with its back on the Grand Canal.

This town with its centuries-old history was founded thanks to its location next to the waterways. From ancient times, merchants gathered, and an upstart little town grew into a boisterous seat of government. By the second half of the twentieth century, however, urbanization continued its relentless push and the industrial base shifted; large numbers of historic residences decayed and were demolished. The water town was losing its former glory. Once the pearl of the lower Yangtze, Wuzhen had become a beauty very much past its prime.


Spring in WuZhen
Spring in Wuzhen  春季乌镇
Night Scene of Wu Zhen
Night Scene of Wuzhen 乌镇夜景
In 1999, the Tongxiang Municipal Party Committee and the Municipal Government decided to take on the protective development and repair work for the historic town of Wuzhen. With Chen Xianghong—then the Party Secretary for Wuzhen and Chairman of the Committee for the Protection and Tourist Development of the Historic Town of Wuzhen—at the lead, Wuzhen embarked on a decade-long process of preservation and development. Chen Xianghong’s team first completed the remaking of East Gate area, the focus of the historic architectural preservation, and then began the preservation projects for the streets and neighborhoods of West Gate, with the innovative idea of “re-using historical streets and neighborhoods”. The two regions, having completed its preservation and development work, fully manifest the historic visual appeal of an ancient water town of the lower Yangtze.

In January 2016, the Wuzhen Tourism Co. Ltd. offered the fourth part for its stunning program: Wucun opened with fanfare, and at that point, this new high-end village vacation tourist attraction, with the theme of bucolic fields and with its “leisure resort hamlets”, unveiled its mysteries, showing off its distinctive pastoral character. Wucun is wrapped in emerald waters and verdant shades, being in league with the natural ecological forest; its distinctive private rural residences and courtyards genuinely display the form and shape of ancient pastoral districts. Wucun overturns the traditional model of rural tourism in China, and employs the experiential model of the all-inclusive package—bringing together room and board, transportation, touring, shopping, and entertainment into a one-stop shop of a rural vacation resort project. With one touch of the button, accommodation, meals, and transportation can be included, along with nearly thirty free experiential items. Tourists can become a self-sufficient modern villager, and have that older sense of intimacy in village homes restored.

North Silk Factory
North Silk Factory 北栅丝厂
The deep sedimentation of humanism in Wuzhen evinces the boundless charm of ancient Eastern civilization. 400 000 sqm of delicate Ming and Qing-dynasty architecture, nearly 20 000 sqm of criss-crossing waterways, a thousand years of history and culture passed down, delightful and humble water town sights, distinctive culinary delicacies, colorful folk festivals…the transmission of wisdom along with the literary and cultural heritage opens up in Wuzhen an enchanting historical vista, much like a historical scroll of painting. As one of the first towns in China to be recognized among the “Top Ten Historical and Cultural Towns” in the country, Wuzhen has been included for the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List and has also been awarded by the United Nations for its protection of heritage in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2010, Wuzhen Tourism was honored with the first AAAAA National Tourist Site Designation within Jiaxing.

The preservation and development of Wuzhen are not limited merely to architecture and the environment but rather strive for a cultural and artistic renaissance, with great efforts at discovering, supporting, and building up cultural projects.

乌镇深厚的人文积淀展现出东方古老文明的无穷魅力。四十多万平方米的精美明清建筑;近二万米纵横交叉的河道;传承千年的历史文化;淳朴秀美的水乡风景;风 味独特的美食佳肴;缤纷多彩的民俗节日……智慧的传承伴随脉脉书香,在乌镇展现出一幅迷人的历史画卷。作为中国首批十大历史文化名镇和中国魅力名镇,乌镇先后被列入联合国世界文化遗产保护预备清单和中国世界文化遗产预备名单重设目录,被联合国授予亚太地区遗产保护杰出成就奖。2010年,乌镇旅游荣膺嘉兴市首家国家AAAAA旅游景区称号。

The Muxin Art Museum
The Mu Xin Art Museum  木心美术馆
Water Theater
Water Theater 水剧场
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