Hengtang Ancient Courier Station
Hengtang Ancient Courier Station is located at the confluence of Xujiang River and the Grand Canal, about four kilometers southwest of the city gate of Xumen. Sitting southward on the west end of a holm in the Xujiang River,surrounded by water on three sides and accompanied by the Grand Canal and the Xujiang River on both sides, Hengtang Ancient Courier Station used to be a courier station in the outskirts of the ancient Suzhou that served both the waterways and the roads, and was one of the few courier stations of its kind along the Grand Canal. As a cultural and historical site protected at the provincial level, the courier station is one of the ancient post station in China that still extant. Though its specific construction date is unknown, Hengtang Ancient Courier Station has over the years attracted a great number of visitors for its location in the poetic Hengtang. The somewhat rectangular shaped posthouse, supported by four stone pillars at the corners, faces south and has a wood fence gate on its south side and another one on its north side. The eastern and western walls of the courier station have traditional carved windows. And inside the courier station one can see stone tablets of various sizes embedded in the walls. The pillars on southern side bear a Chinese couplet written by someone unknown, from which one can tell that it was rebuilt in 1874, the third year of the Tongzhi Emperor. The Caiyun Bridge (a bridge with three arches) is southeast of the courier station, spanning the Xujiang River and has made its way through a dyke to the courier station. There visitors will see a scene of the ancient courier station and the bridge enhancing each other’s beauty. To the southeast of the courier station there is the Tang Yin Garden, which is a place where the tomb of Tang Yin, one of the Four Masters of the Ming Dynasty, rests. If one sets off and goes west from the courier station, follows the Xujiang River and passes through the ancient towns of Mudu and Xukou, they will finally reach Taihu Lake. And if one sets off and goes south from the courier station, follows the northern part of the Yuelai River, they will finally reach Shihu Lake.