The gate to Suzhou is said to have more than a 2,400 year history. It is said to have been the only gate in China with both a lower water entrance and an upper land entrance. It was built at a time when a canal moat surrounded Suzhou. The present structure was built in 1986. It is part of a park. It was built on the spot of another tower that was built about the year 1344 at the end of the Yuan Empire period.
1)Bus No. 7, 39, 47, 305, 935, and 949 go there. Tourist Buses No. 2 and 5 go there too. Get off at Pan Men Scenic Area north stop.
Panmen Gate is the oldest city gate of Suzhou and the only existing water and land gate in China. The gate is located on the south-west corner of the Main Canal Suzhou. Originally built during the Warring States Period in the state of Wu, historians estimate it to be around 2,500 years old.
It is composed of two water passages, three land passages and the outside gate. The canal outside the gate is the oldest section of the Grand Canal that was also built 2,500 years ago. In its vicinity, there is a 1,000-year-old pagoda named Ruiguang Pagoda, the earliest pagoda in Suzhou; and the Wu Bridge, the entrance to the gate at that time over the water passage and the highest bridge in Suzhou at the time.
Water gate and land gate show the importance of Panmen Gate in Suzhou water-system. The two water gateDuring the ancient time, the clean water in Grand Canal flew through the water gate, and the generals and soldiers entered in Suzhou by riding horses. This glorious picture can still be imaged from this site. adjoining theland gate are the only water pass linking the inside and outside of the southwestern corner of the city.
The Gate Town in Panmen Gate Scenic Area was rebuilt in 1986. The traditional Chinese architectural style has a magnificent position in the Ancient battle field. Equipped with all kinds of facilities needed in ancient defensive battles, such as shooting holes, sluice gateways and lookout towers, the city gate seems to have brought the ancient city of Suzhou back to us.
Wumen Gate Bridge is splendid so that people would like to call it as a rainbow hung in the sky. This site is situated beside the Panmen Gate with fame as the longest stone one-arched bridge in Suzhou. Standing on this bridge, people can savor the beautiful pictures of the Panmen Gate and the Auspicious Light Pagoda. In the river, there is a prosperous sight of boats sailing competitively in the Great Canal.
The present Panmen Gate was mostly built in the last few decades. About 2,500 years ago, a moat canal surrounded Suzhou and provided for convenient transportation. But a wall was built to defend the city, and in order to defend the canal passage, a tower was built over the canal.
The present building has a history dating back to the Yuan Dynasty period (1271-1368 AD) when the Mongolians had a big empire. It was built about the year 1344. In 1976, the Suzhou government rebuilt the tower, and in 1983, construction was done on the canal. In 1986, the present red building was built. It has two floors.
The Pan Men Gate is part of the Panmen Scenic Area Park. There are three main attractions in the park. These are the Panmen Gate itself, the Wumen Bridge, and the Rui Guang Pagoda.
The Pan Men Gate itself is a two-storey red house-like building with a curved roof. It doesn't look like a defensive building at all. It was built in 1986. However, the house-like building sits on a large solid base that has an arched opening. The canal passed underneath. A sluice gate was lowered to close off access. The first floor has an exhibit of ancient weapons.
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