Pan Gate Ancient City Wall

                                     Pan Gate---Suzhou


Pan Men Gate is famous as the historic landmark in Suzhou. It is located on the southwest corner of the Grand Canal. Originally built during the Warring States Period in the state of Wu, historians estimate it to be around 2,500 years old. It is now part of the Pan Gate Scenic Area. Besides, there are two famous sites including the Ruiguang Pagoda (the earliest pagoda in Suzhou built in 247 B.C.) and the Wu Gate Bridge( the entrance to the gate at that time over the water course and the highest bridge in Suzhou at the time.)
Pan Gate is part of the ancient city wall built in 514 B.C. which embraces and protects Suzhou city. It is also well-known in China for its architecture style which is famous for its complex of both land and water city gates. People directly referred to it as the Land and Water Gate. In order to attract more tourists, in recent years, the government of Suzhou has renovated the old wall and restored many other attractions around the original gate in the Pan Gate Scenic Area.

Suzhou, like many other Chinese cities, was once surrounded by a ring of walls and gates. But since much of the citys commerce and transportation took place on its network of canals, completely walling of the city would have been impractical. As a result Suzhou created a system of water gates - small forts which had openings for both land and water traffic Just as the wooden doors could close off roads into the city, the canals could be sealed from above. One of these gates is still preserved today - the Pan Men, one of the only such places in China. Dating from 1531, the gate is not just an opening in the wall, but a small fortress with walls, gates, and guard towers. It also connects to a section of the historic city wall, great for a quiet stroll wand to see the life of the city unfold beneath. From it you can look out over the bustling activity of the narrow streets and alleys inside the wall, and see small boats plying the canal pass through the water gate, evoking the days when flocks of boats crowded into the thriving canals of Chinas Venice.

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