With a history of more than 2,500 years, the Huqiu has been known as No. 1 Sight of Suzhou. It is a must for tourists. The great Song literary man Su Dongpo said, “It would be a pity if you had been to Suzhou but didn’t get to visit the Huqiu.” As a showcase of Suzhou and one of the first ten exemplary civilized tourist attractions of China, it receives over 1,500,000 Chinese and foreign tourists every year, and has taken over the lead in the tourism industry of Suzhou for ten years running.
According to the Historical Records, the Wu King Helu was buried on the hill, called then “the Hill Emerging from the Sea”. The legend goes that three days after his burial a white tiger appeared squatting on the hill. Hence the name. In spite of the face that it has an elevation of over 30 m. and covers about 49.41ac., the Huqiu boasts impressive rocks, deep dales, 3 matchless scenes, 9 suitable occasions for enjoyment, 18 scenic spots, and changing scenery at all times. No wonder it has been an awe-inspiring sight in the area south of the Lower Yangtze. The Yunyan Temple Pagoda and the Sword Pool are most famous on the hill. With a history going back more than 1,000 years, the simple, archaic and imposing Yunyan Temple Pagoda, also known as the Second Leaning Tower on earth, stands aloft at the top of the hill, serving as a symbol of ancient Suzhou for years, The Tomb of the Wu King Helu under the Sword Pool has remained an unsolved mystery for two and a half millennia. The story goes that the great Jin master Wang Xizhi traded his calligraphy for lovable geese from the Taoist Abbot. And the windy vale and cloudy spring make the visitor reluctant to leave. Located on the western hill-side and with the pagoda scene as its backdrop, the attractive Mountain Villa with 10,000 Scenes has a collection of the finest specimens of the Suzhou style bonsai.
The luxuriant vegetation at the back of the hill, constituting a peculiar climatic zone, has now become the paradise of winged fowls. In the autumnal twilight, thousands of herons wheeling in the air round the pagoda make a tremendous spectacle.
The Huqiu is also an important meeting-place for the populace at Suzhou. There used to be 3 fairs and 3 festivals held here every year in olden times.
Today the Huqiu sees Spring Flower Show and Autumn Temple Fair, two special events a year, becoming a favorite tourist-site. At Spring Flower Show paeonia suffruticosa, tulipa gesneriana, rhododendron simsii & r.spp., lilium spp. and a good number of valuable species of flowers are displayed in competition for beauty. Autumn Temple Fair is the re-creation of the popular Temple Fair of Shantang with a mixture of northern and southern Chinese cultural performances and a strong regional flavor. Making historic events and landscapes, cultural heritage and natural scenery into one whole, the picturesque Huqiu possesses unique charms and is a rare cultural gem of mankind