Wangting, the Gatekeeper Town of Wu Land
When ships sailing southwards on the Grand Canal enter the canal's Suzhou section, the first thing they will see is the town of Wangting. In the Spring and Autumn period, not far from the location where the town now sits, there was a royal forest owned by Helv the king of Wu and known as Changzhou Court长洲苑. There in the late Eastern Han dynasty Sun Jian built a pavilion named Imperial Pavilion 御亭. When Yu Jianwu, a poet of the Southern dynasties,passed the pavilion, he wrote a verse that says 'when I stand in the Imperial Pavilion and look afar'. It was due to this verse that Li Xiyu, the governor of Changzhou 常州 in Zhenguan period of the Tang dynasty, renamed the area where the pavilion stood Wangting 望亭, literally 'looking afar from the pavilion'. Since then Wangting had become an important post station in the water-blessed land of Wu. Its air of prosperity inspired the renowned Tang dynasty poet Bai Juyi to write down the verse, 'Immersed in the lantern lights and tunes are the courier station and the town.' Today, Wangting boasts not only historical relics like those of Liangzhu and Songze cultures, but also time honored intangible heritage like Taihu Lake and Rice Cultivation cultures. Additionally, the Wangting Water Conservation Project in Shadungang, reputed as the 'Overpass above the Wangyu River', and the Wangting Power Plant residing on the east bank of the Grand Canal, have also witnessed the thriving development of local water conservation and power sectors since the nation's founding in 1949.