Suzhou, in the province of Jiangsu, 56 miles from Shanghai, the "Chinese Venice", according to the nickname given by Marco Polo, has not escaped industrial and urban development. Founded almost 2,500 years ago, Suzhou was prosperous on completion of the Great Canal connecting it to Peking, and this waterway is still active, and should be discovered on a cruise to Hangzhou. Suzhou is known all over China for the beauty of its canals and bridges, however, the old decrepit houses are gradually giving way to concrete structures covering the canals themselves. There are still a number of alleyways, and various gardens (150), like the Garden of the Humble Administrator (Zhouzhengyuan), and the Lingering, delightfully arranged around water and rockery. Other features of the town (to be visited by bicycle): the silk industry, with its factories and workshops, the North Temple Pagoda (Beisita), 250 feet high, and a charming Opera and Theatre museum. However, for more authenticity, you should rush to discover Wuxi, another Chinese Venice. Located 15.5 miles to the east of Suzhou, it continues to be a small town where the traffic still occurs on canals.