Suzhou, in the Jiangsu province, was once one of the 10 largest cities in the world and has a history of over 2500 years. The financial center of China, Shanghai, only exists because Suzhou was taken in 1860, giving space for the development of the new metropolis.
Full of rivers and canals, Suzhou is known as "The Venice of the East". Its historical architecture is very similar to its neighbor Shanghai, as are its little narrow streets called longtang 弄堂 , the equivalent to the Beijing hutong.
On my one-day visit I went to the famous and touristy Shantang street, known as the "#1 ancient street in China" for its prosperity in the Ming and Qing dynasties. And then I drifted from it to the side longtangs and what I saw was so much more interesting and authentic.