When the water is still, look at the bridge from a riverboat: the semi-circle arches are reflected in the river, making five perfect circles. Hence why the style is known as a “Moon Bridge”
Zhujiajiao is a suburb of Shanghai that is famous as “The Venice of the Orient.” Its history reaches back almost 2000 years, and its many townhouses from the Ming and Qing dynasties are knitted together by a network of charming waterways. Another name for Zhujiajiao is “Pearl Stream,” perhaps owing to how its historical essence has endured while the world rushes forward around it: Zhujiajiao is the best preserved of Shanghai’s four ancient towns, after all.
Zhujiajiao’s famous waterways are spanned by no less than 36 bridges, built in a range of shapes and styles, some from wood, others from stone, and even some from marble. Some are just a single yard wide — but not Fangsheng Bridge.
Fangsheng Bridge was built in 1812 and is the longest and tallest stone bridge in Zhujiajiao. It is reputed to be the largest stone arch bridge in Shanghai, climbing up and down over five arches. The four pillars at the ends of the bridge are sculpted lions, and the central arch bears a relief of eight dragons coiled around a pearl.
The bridge is peppered with merchants at all times, including some selling live fish. Buy one and perform the ancient ritual of releasing it from the bridge into the waters below. Good karma guaranteed.
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