The central square of Tongli has been modernized. It is this type of super neat concrete park architecture that heritage preservation tries to avoid. The artful display of an ancient cart actually seems to emphasize the newness of the surroundings. It is mentioned with regret in one of the UNESCO reports.

The central square also features another form of history. Each time a movie or television show is made using Tongli as a setting, a new paving stone is added with the name of the movie, the production company, and the date. As of 2005, over a hundred movies or television shows had filmed here on location. This is a good source of revenue for the village, both from the rent money from the producers and from the incidental money made from providing food and housing for the crews. I would imagine that quite a few residents of Tongli are well skilled in the role of "extra." I don't know if it will serve as an additional tourist attraction as does the "Cheers" bar in Boston. The Chinese tour group paid it scant attention as they passed, but they may already have known the information.

Below, the square provides a place for movie companies to set up trailers and equipment and a stage has been added to bring in entertainment for the tourists.

China Index >> History of Shanghai and Suzhou Region >> Tongli Village

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Last update: September 2007
© Marilyn Shea 1996, 1999, 2002, 2007