Panmen Gate, architecture in Yuan Dynasty
(1271-1368), lies in the northwest of Suzhou. With 2500
years history, this gate is the most completely preserved
part of the Suzhou ancient city ruins. Standing on the
top of the gate, visitors can easily see the Wumen Gate
Bridge and the Auspicious Light Pagoda. All the three
scenes are well-known as the Three Scenes at Panmen
Construction of Panmen Gate started in the
first year of the reign of He Lu (emperor of a small
ancient country Wu). Although it has been renovated
and rebuilt many times, its location has never been
changed an inch. During 1271-1368, Panmen Gate was firstly
rebuilt and during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911)
Dynasties, it was renovated again. Panmen Gate looks
very splendid because of the water gates, land gates,
towers and city wall.
The ancient Panmen Gate which is an initiative in the
history of the ancient fortification was built by water
gates and land gates, towers and city wall at both sides.
The land gates include two gates, one inside and the
other outside, with city wall forming a square terrace
of about 20 meters long on each side. This construction
helped the people in ancient time win the battle and
their enemies would be like turtles in a jar. Panmen
Gate is a fortress suitable for ancient water-towns
like Suzhou in the southern part of China. The two water
gates adjoining the land gates are the only water pass
which links the inside and outside. This kind of construction
has enough room for two boats passing side by side.
Auspicious Light Pagoda
Auspicious Light Pagoda lies in the northeast. Cultural
relics having been discovered in the recent years in
the tower confirmed that the tower was built in 1004
firstly, consuming 24 years. It was destroyed in the
war. Later on, it was renovated more than 18 times.
It saves the multi-story tower style of Tang (618-907)
and Song (960-1279) Dynasty.
Wumen Bridge firstly built in North Song Dynasty (960-1127)
is nearby Panmen Gate. The present bridge was rebuilt
in 1872. The aperture of the bridge is high and noble.
It is a typical with the characteristics of a large
single arched stone bridge in the area south of Yangtze
River. In the river, there is a prosperous sight of
boats sailing competitively in the Great Canal. Standing
on the bridge, people can savor the beautiful pictures
of the Panmen Gate and Auspicious Light Pagoda.