Hangzhou is the capital and largest city of Zhejiang Province in Eastern China. It
has been one of the most renowned and prosperous cities of China for much of the
last 1,000 years. It was settled as early as 4,700 years ago, thus giving birth
to the auroral Liangzhu Civilization. One of the seven ancient capitals and the
key scenic tourism and historical culture cities in China, Hangzhou once was applauded
as"the most splendid and luxurious city in the world" by Marco Polo, the Italian
traveler in the 13th century.
History and Culture
Hangzhou was founded during the Qin Dynasty as Qiantang County. It was chosen as
the new capital of the Southern Song Dynasty when they regrouped in 1123. From the
early 12th century until the Mongol invasion of 1276, known as Lin'an, it served
as the seat of the imperial government, a center of trade and entertainment, and
the nexus of the main branches of the civil service. During that time, the city
was a sort of gravitational center of Chinese civilization. Numerous philosophers,
politicians, and men of literature, including some of the most celebrated poets
in Chinese history such as Su Shi, Lu You, and Xin Qiji came here to live and die.
A core city of the Yangtze River Delta, Hangzhou has a position on the Hangzhou
Bay 180 kilometres southwest of Shanghai that gives it economic power. It is now
the most economically vigorous city in China and its economic power ranks first
among sub-provincial cities. It has been rated by the World Bank as having "the
best environment" in China for three years consecutively, and by Forbes Magazine
as "the best city for commerce in Mainland China" for five years consecutively.
Hangzhou is renowned for its historic relics and natural beauty. It is often known
as one of the most beautiful cities in China, also ranking as one of the most scenic
cities.Although Hangzhou has been through many recent urban developments, it still
retains its historical and cultural heritage. One of Hangzhou's most popular sights
is the West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The West Lake Cultural Landscape
covers an area of 33 km2 (3,323 hectares) and includes some of Hangzhou's most notable
historic and scenic places. Adjacent to the lake is a scenic area includes historical
pagodas, cultural sites, as well as the natural beauty of the lake and hills.
Hangzhou, a modern city with a long history, has been a most pleasant destination
to be appealing to everyone. In 2006, it was honored by the World Leisure Organization
as "The Oriental Capital of Leisure" and "The Best Tourism City of China" by the
National Tourism Administration and the World Tourism Organization.