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Home Chinese Cities and Province Information Zhejiang Province Hangzhou, Capital City of Zhejiang Province

China City and Province Information

Hangzhou Basics
Area:   16,596 square km
Population:   7.97 million (2008)
Postal Code:   310000
Phone Area Code:   0571
Local Time  
A Brief Introduction of Hangzhou

Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province in east China, lies close to the mouth of the Qiantang River at the western end of the Gulf of Hangzhou.

Hangzhou was a small fishing village until late in the sixth century, when the extension of the Grand Canal southward from the Yangzi led to the development of a busy commercial center in the town. It prospered, especially during the peaceful early period of the Tang Dynasty. Its growth was assisted by the development of the lower Yangtze (Yangzi) area (Yangtze River Delta) into the nation's most important agricultural region.

Hangzhou underwent dramatic development when the Song Dynasty, pushed south by the conquering Jin, established its capital there. In a short space of 100 years, the population grew to almost a million and the town flourished as a major trading center. Although the city was partly destroyed by the invading Mongols in the late 13th-century, it appeared impressive to Marco Polo when the famous Italian traveler visited the city shortly afterwards. According to Marco Polo, Hangzhou was “without doubt the finest and most splendid city the world... there are said to be 13,000 bridges, mostly of stone... vast are the numbers of those accustomed to dainty living, to the point of eating fish and meat at one meal.”

As for the West Lake, Marco Pole wrote: “On one side it skirts the city... and commands a distant view of all its grandeur and loveliness, its temples, monasteries, and gardens with their towering trees, running down to the water's edge. On the lake itself is the endless procession of barges thronged with pleasure-seekers... their minds and thoughts are intent upon nothing but bodily pleasures and the delights of society.”

Today, the city remains renowned for its beauty, which some claim is unsurpassed in China; and although some of the historic buildings have been destroyed, the archaeological attractions that remain are still impressive. Many sections of the town have not changed for centuries, while the famous West Lake region retains its reputation as one of the most beautiful spots in China, with landscaped gardens on its banks, tree-shaded walks, and in the nearby hills, temples, pagodas, and monasteries.

Hangzhou Tourist Attractions:

Hangzhou's fame rests mainly with the picturesque West Lake, so named because it is located in its western fringe. Covering about four square miles, West Lake is surrounded on three sides by rolling wood hills. At the center are three isles--Lesser Yingzhou, Mid-lake Pavilion and Ruangong Isle. Solitary Hill stands by itself on the northern lakeshore. It can be reached from the city by Bai Causeway, with Su Causeway bisects the lake from north to south. The blue, often rippling, water is dotted with elegant stone bridges and charming pavilions.

If you are visiting in September during the autumn equinox, you may be able to see one of the most unusual sights in the world. A tidal bore gathers momentum in the Gulf of Hangzhou, surges into the mouth of the Qiangtang River, and races up the river, at a height of up to 30 ft. and a speed of more than 15m.p.h. In ancient times, governors of Hangzhou used to have arrows fired at the waves in an attempt to quell their destructive forces. Nowadays more effective methods are used.

It is believed that the temple was first established in 336 A.D. by a monk known as Hui Li. It was destroyed on a number of occasions, the last time during the Taiping Rebellion, and the latest rebuilding was in the early part of the 20th century. It was then restored in 1956.

The temple sits at the foot of the Northern Peak in a wooded area, with a stream running in front of it. Some of the trees in front are believed to be more than 1,000 years old.

The foremost temple houses a laughing Buddha carved in camphor wood and covered in gold with a carved gilt figure standing behind as a guard. Both figures are set under a two-eaves wooden canopy decorated in red and gold. Ornate lamps hang on either side.



Hangzhou Related Pictures


Hangzhou Useful Links and Sites


Hangzhou Related Article and Report Links
 China's Administrative Divisions
4 Municipalities

23 Provinces

5 Autonomous Regions

2 Special Administrative Regions (SAR)

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