An Old Village Photo Journal #2: Zhujiajiao (朱家角)

Located in a suburb of Shanghai city, Zhujiajiao is an ancient water town well-known throughout the country, with a history of more than 1700 years. Covering an area of 47 square kilometers, the little fan-shaped town glimmers like a bright pearl in the landscape of lakes and mountains.

Endowed with another elegant name – ‘Pearl Stream’ – the little town is the best-preserved among the four ancient towns in Shanghai. Unique old bridges across bubbling streams, small rivers shaded by willow trees, and houses with courtyards attached all transport people who have been living amidst the bustle and hustle of the modern big city to a brand-new world full of antiquity, leisure and tranquillity. ~ (Source:

A day before our umpiring duties started, some of our colleagues suggested we go sightseeing. So, that’s how we ended up standing in front of this gate while taking turns buying the entrance ticket.
While waiting for the others to buy their tickets, my eyes zeroed in on this old building.
Meanwhile, at the gate…
Finally, we’re in! While slowly soaking in the ancient feel of this city, I noticed this little girl.
Thought balloon: The young ones out and about in this ancient, storied town. How nice.
Fellow umpires from Singapore and Japan with our Chinese host admiring (I’m guessing) the architecture. Or it could be the birds flying around. I’m not entirely sure.
Walking further, we saw this.
…and this. Because food is never far from my thoughts.
Exploring more of the town, we came across the little girl again. I was so fascinated by her that I stopped for one snapshot.
She’s so cute so I took another shot.
yet another one…
Until she finally saw me playing stalker.
So I finally caught up with the others on one of the many bridges in this town. The others wanted to take a photo of the view behind us. Sadly, the boats they wanted seen on this picture were completely covered by us.
This was actually the view from that bridge.
As we walked on, I noticed this payphone.
~~ and if cellphones didn’t rule the world…
Passing by an old post office, we saw this. I wondered if I mail letters here, would the dragon himself/herself deliver it? I could almost imagine him/her coming to life as soon as dusk sets in.
No one posted letters or anything, so we moved on. We went inside a building where we saw these guys busy doing what they must have been doing for over a thousand years.
Somewhere in that building, we also found this.
The we proceeded to a pavilion located somewhere along the many side streets of the town.
Whoever owned the pavilion in the old days must be rich because these two structures are just some of the attractions in the courtyard.
As soon as we finished checking out the pavilion, we went outside to proceed to another part of town. While crossing a small bridge, this boat came passing by. This easily became my favorite photo among the many taken that day.
Then we finally came to the bridge everyone was talking about.
Fangsheng Bridge: Spanning the Caogang River in the east of the town. It is an arched stone bridge with five openings. It is popularly known as the No. 1 Bridge in Shanghai. It was first built in the 5th year of Emperor Longqing’s reign of the Ming Dyansty (1571). It is also known as the “Long Rainbow”. (excerpt from the brochure we were carrying around with us)
If a dragon guards the mails, these guys serve as sentinels of this bridge.
One of the views from above
This one, too
Backtracking a bit to North Street (a.k.a. Ancient Street)
Then back across the bridge to capture a photo of this cat. Cats are always on my “list of things that unfailingly catch my attention”.
Still more of the old structures and streets in town.
After hours of losing ourselves into the ancient town experience, we stopped for a while in this area near the exit.
A few more photos after, we’re back outside where traces of the old still linger.

Our Chinese friends told us there were more to see in Zhujiajiao. Unfortunately, we didn’t have much time. I guess it’s best it turned out that way. Maybe someday soon I’ll be back to visit that memorable ancient town again.

In the company of colleagues and friends from different places, walking in streets steeped with history, and generally having a good time – it truly was a well-spent day. Like I said in my other old village photo journal, Life is good.


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