In ancient China, many cities had walls surrounding them, to protect them from invading armies.
The water-town of Suzhou( not far from Shanghai) is unique in that there were both land and water gates along the old city walls.
It was a double fortification – anyone entering via boat through the water gate, then had to face the courtyard where large gates in the wall prevented armies from charging into the city.
When Wu Zixu planned and constructed Suzhou 2500 years ago, he had eight city gates built, placed in the cardinal directions along the city wall.
Over the ensuring centuries, the old gates and city walls have been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times. The Pan Men is in the south-west corner of the Suzhou old city.
The combination of Land and Water Gates along the old city Wall made for an excellent defence mechanism during the ancient times.
The city of Suzhou still maintains the same geometric layout, and criss-cross of canals, as it did 2500 years ago when Wu Zixu first planned it. Many old city gates have been rebuilt and give Suzhou a unique feel, merging the ancient city with a modern, bustling town.
Pan Men City Gate along the old Suzhou City Wall.