San Diego Union-Tribune
...Located in the Jiangsu Province of Eastern China, Suzhou has a population of 13 million...I headed to Old Town District, with a layout that has remained unchanged for more than 2,500 years. Considered the “Venice of China,” Suzhou sits in the center of the Yangtze River Delta, where gondolas push through narrow waterways, lit by paper lanterns and shadowed by stone bridges. Framed by 85 historical sites, Suzhou’s Grand Canal is 1,200 miles long and rivals the Great Wall as one the most magnificent man-made wonders in China. The labyrinth of waterways gives way to the Hanshan Temple, the city’s most important landmark. On foot, you can stroll — and shop — for hours along the cobblestone streets of Pingjiang and Shantang. These pedestrian zones are lined with merchants selling everything from silk fans and Biluochun tea, to animal-shaped dumplings and Chinese propaganda posters.