Hangzhou ([xǎŋʈʂóu] ( listen)), formerly romanized as Hangchow, is the capital and most populous city of Zhejiang Province in east China. It sits at the head of Hangzhou Bay, which separates Shanghai and Ningbo. Hangzhou grew to prominence as the southern terminus of the Grand Canal and has been one of the most renowned and prosperous cities in China for much of the last millennium, due in part to its beautiful natural scenery. The city’s West Lake is its best-known attraction.
Hangzhou is classified as a sub-provincial city and forms the core of the Hangzhou metropolitan area,the fourth-largest in China. During the 2010 Chinese census, the metropolitan area held 21.102 million people over an area of 34,585 km2 (13,353 sq mi). Hangzhou prefecture had a registered population of 9,018,000 in 2015.
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The celebrated neolithic culture of Hemudu is known to have inhabited Yuyao, 100 km (62 mi) south-east of Hangzhou, as far back as seven thousand years ago.It was during this time that rice was first cultivated in southeast China. Excavations have established that the jade-carving Liangzhu culture (named for its type site just northwest of Hangzhou) inhabited the area immediately around the present city around five thousand years ago. The first of Hangzhou’s present neighborhoods to appear in written records was Yuhang, which probably preserves an old Baiyue name.
Hangzhou was made the seat of the zhou (very roughly, “county”) of Hang in AD 589, entitling it to a city wall which was constructed two years later. By a longstanding convention also seen in other cities like Guangzhou and Fuzhou, the city took on the name of the area it administered and became known as Hangzhou. Hangzhou was at the southern end of China’s Grand Canal which extends to Beijing. The canal evolved over centuries but reached its full length by 609.
Economy & Culture
Hangzhou’s economy has rapidly developed since its opening up in 1992. It is an industrial city with many diverse sectors such as light industry, agriculture, and textiles. It is considered an important manufacturing base and logistics hub for coastal China.
The 2001 GDP of Hangzhou was RMB ¥156.8 billion, which ranked second among all of the provincial capitals after Guangzhou. The city has more than tripled its GDP since then, increasing from RMB ¥156.8 billion in 2001 to RMB ¥1.105 trillion in 2016 and GDP per capita increasing from US$3,025 to US$18,282.
Longjing (Dragon Well Spring) in Hangzhou, famous for the Longjing tea cultivated in the surrounding plantationsLarge statue of Guanyin and carved images of 150 Buddhist personalities in the Grand Hall of the Great Sage in Lingyin Temple. The native residents of Hangzhou, like those of Zhejiang and southern Jiangsu, speak Hangzhou dialect, which is a Wu dialect. However, Wu Chinese varies throughout the area where it is spoken, hence, Hangzhou’s dialect differs from regions in southern Zhejiang and southern Jiangsu. As the official language defined by China’s central government, Mandarin is the dominant spoken language.
There are several museums located in Hangzhou with regional and national importance. China National Silk Museum (中国丝绸博物馆), located near the West Lake, is one of the first state-level museums in China and the largest silk museum in the world. China National Tea Museum (中国茶叶博物馆) is a national museum with special subjects as tea and its culture. Zhejiang Provincial Museum (浙江博物馆) features collection of integrated human studies, exhibition and research with its over 100,000 collected cultural relics.
Hangzhou’s local cuisine is often considered to be representative of Zhejiang provincial cuisine, which is claimed as one of China’s eight fundamental cuisines. The locally accepted consensus among Hangzhou’s natives defines dishes prepared in this style to be “fresh, tender, soft, and smooth, with a mellow fragrance.”
Hangzhou Guide Map
Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang Province and the local political, economic and cultural center. As the southern terminus of the Grand Canal, the city is located on the lower reaches of the Qiantang River in southeast China, a superior position in the Yangtze Delta and only 112 mi (180 km) from Shanghai.
The subtropical monsoon climate contributes to varied seasonal sceneries, making Hangzhou one of China’s most popular travel destinations all the year round.