In 2004, Tongli together with Zhouzhuang and Luzhi were listed in the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage Sites. With the rapid modernization of China, large number of historical towns disappeared under the bulldozers, with only a handful of well preserved historical townships remaining today.
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Tongli in Jiangsu Province is one of the many ancient water towns in the south of the Yangtze River Delta, which are famous for their rivers, ancient bridges and house complexes. Tongli occupies an area of 51 square miles (133 square kilometers) with a population of 55,000. The city is separated by 15 rivers into seven islets, which are connected through 49 ancient bridges. Tongli, established in the Song Dynasty, has a history of over 1,000 years. It is very rich in cultural heritage. Traditional residences including gardens, houses and temples, built in the Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty, are the highlight of the city. Jiayin Hall built in 1922 is known for its fine carvings on the structure. Congben Hall built in 1911 is also known for its carvings on the structure. There are more than one hundred of well-preserved woodcarvings of traditional figures from Chinese classics.
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