South of the Yangtze -- Heaven on Earth

The scenery around the lakes and canals of the towns along the Yangtze River is famous for its heavenly beauty! If you ever get a chance to travel to China and take a Yangtze river cruise, go for it.

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Excerpt from A Musical Journey: From the Great Wall of China to the Water Towns of Jiangnan, Chapter 12: Jiangnan -- Heaven on Earth

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Jiangnan means "South of the Yangtze River". At 6,300km, the Yangtze is the longest river in China.

Jiangnan includes Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Anhui provinces. Through the ages Jiangnan has been the wealthiest region in China, producing first-rate rice, silk and tea leaves.

Jiangnan is famed for its scenic water towns and lakes. A typical water town is Zhouzhuang. This 900-year-old town has arched bridges, winding streams and quaint houses in the old Chinese style. Among the lakes, West Lake (Xihu) and Tai Lake (Taihu) are the most beautiful.

Jiangnan's natural beauty is captured in the Chinese saying "Paradise in Heaven, Suzhou and Hangzhou on Earth.

Suzhou is a 2,500 year-old city known for its silk and its bamboo gardens. Everything about Suzhou, starting from its spoken dialect, is like a feminine Chinese beauty: soft, subtle and elegant.

West Lake lies in the west of Hangzhou, hence its name. Poets, writers and artists have been inspired by West Lake for centuries. Names such as "Three Pools Mirroring the Moon", "Viewing Fish at Flower Harbor" and "Autumn Moon on Calm Lake" describe the beauty spots along West Lake.

The mountains surrounding West Lake produce Longjing (Dragon Well), an excellent green tea. Early in April each year the best Longjing tea leaves are harvested.


New Folk Music from A Musical Journey

"This is a new version of Jasmine flower, a 200-year-old Jiangnan folk song. Erhu and pipa are the main instruments. Jasmine is a small white, sweet-scented flower. One imagines sitting in a boat rowing down the canal in Zhouzhuang, passing under arched bridges with old houses on both banks."

You'll need windows media player to play the music. If you don't have wma, you can download it here



Listen to Jasmine Flower a 200-year-old Jiangnan "South of the Yangtze" folk song.




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