Tongli,which belongs to Wujiang in Jiangsu Province, is located along the bank of Tai Lake and to the east of ancient canal with eight lakes surrounded; it is 80 kilometers away from Shanghai Hongqiao Airport in the east and 18 kilometers away from Suzhou in the north, adjacent to 318 national highway in the south and Suzhou—Jiaxing expressway in the west.
The administrative district of Tongli town, after mergence of Tongli and Tuncun in October, 2001, covers a total area of 102.91 square kilometers and boasts a total population of 58,000 with 12 administrative villages, 1 aquatic product base and 6 community residents’ committees affiliated.
Tongli, formerly known as Futu, changed its name as “Tongli (铜里)” in early Tang dynasty due to its luxuriousness, and the current name “Tongli (同里)” can be traced back to Song dynasty when people re-created the two characters of “fu (富)” and “tu (土)”. Tongli ancient town with beautiful scenery is surrounded by five lakes, namely Tongli, Jiuli, Yeze, Nanxing and Pangshan.
The town is divided into 7 small islands by 15 rivers arranged like the Chinese character “川” connected by 49 ancient bridges, making these islands an integrated area. The architectures built by riverside, famous for “small bridge, flowing stream and thatched households”, make Tongli ancient town the best-reserved ancient town by riverside as well as the key cultural relics protection unit of province level, which has been listed as one of 13 scenic spots of Tai Lake. The ancient town is open to the public in 1986, and is listed as the first group of historical and cultural towns in Jiangsu Province by the provincial government in 1995. Pretty and unsophisticated Tongli town boasts fertile paddy fields, rich resources and outstanding natives, thus crowned as “Small Oriental Venice”.
Tongli is characterized by a large number of architectures in Ming&Qing dynasties, small bridges and outstanding celebrities. Tongli boasts 38 residences in Ming&Qing dynasties, 47 temples and ancestral halls and around 100 residences of local rich and powerful people as well as former residences of celebrities. In the past, Tongli ancient town features over 20 natural scenic spots including “Eight Sceneries Ahead”, “Eight Sceneries Back”, “Successive Four Sceneries”, etc., while such sceneries as “Eyeing on the Moon by East Creek”, “Mist in Southern Area”, “Overlooking on Top of Northern Hill”, “Flute form Fishing Households”, “Flourishing Vegetation of the Hill”, etc. Tongli people are diligent, hard-working and well-educated, and many outstanding celebrities come from Tongli town. From 1247 AD in Southern Song dynasty to late Qing dynasty, Tongli cultivated 1 Zhuangyuan (champion in imperial examinations), 42 Jinshi (imperial scholars) and 93 Juren (first-degree scholars) in civil and military field.
Famous Tongli people were Zhu Heling, Yuan Long, etc, while famous ones in modern times were Chen Qubing, Fei Gong, etc At present, Tuisi Garden in Tongli ancient town has been listed as one of world’s Cultural Heritage, and Tongli ancient town is applying for it. With the reinforcement of publicity, an increasing number of people are aware of and familiar with the ancient town. Many newspaper media in mainland, Hong Kong and America introduce Tongli with illustrations; many shooting crews come to Tongli frequently, and Tongli Shooting Base was established here by China Film Association due to its natural film studio renowned both home and abroad.