Hangzhou (Chinese: 杭州), formerly transliterated as Hangchow, is the capital and largest city of Zhejiang Province in Eastern China . Governed as a sub-provincial city, and as of 2010, its entire administrative division had a registered population of 8.7 million people. A core city of the Yangtze River Delta, its position on the Hangzhou Bay 180 kilometres (110 mi) southwest of Shanghai gives it economic power, and moreover, it has also been one of the most renowned and prosperous cities of China for much of the last 1,000 years, due in part to its beautiful natural scenery; the city’s West Lake is its most well-known attraction.
In recent years, Hangzhou have received more than 40 national and international honor titles, such as the UN Habitat Award, the International Garden City, National Environmental Protection Model City, National Sanitary City, National Model Green City, the State Forest City, China Habitat Environment Prize, China Environment Prize urban environment Awards, the most influential soft-power city in mainland, the best commercial city in mainland China, the happiest city in China, the best city of the overall investment environment in China , the safest cities in the country, the e-commerce capital in China, the entrepreneurial city in China, the top ten harmonious development cities in China, the ten best livable city in China, the top ten best scientific development cities in China, the top ten innovative cities in China, the top ten brands city in China and the top ten leisure cities in China. Hangzhou won the title of the best commercial cities in mainland China in 6 consecutive years by the U.S. Forbes magazine and ranked No.1 as the happiest city in China by Oriental Outlook, the Xinhua News Agency.
The city of Hangzhou was founded during the Qin Dynasty as Qiantang County. In AD 589, the city was renamed Hangzhou, literally meaning River-ferrying Prefecture, and a city wall was constructed two years later. It is listed as one of the Seven Ancient Capitals of China.
Hangzhou is 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.
It was the capital of the Wuyue Kingdom from 907 to 978 during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. Named Xifu at the time, it was one of the three great centers of culture in southern China during the tenth century, along with Nanjing and Chengdu. Leaders of Wuyue were noted patrons of the arts, and especially of Buddhism and associated temple architecture and artwork. It also became a cosmopolitan center, drawing scholars from throughout China and conducting diplomacy not only with neighboring Chinese states, but also with Japan, Korea, and the Khitan Liao Dynasty.
Hangzhou was chosen as the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty in 1123. It remained the capital from the early 12th century until the Mongol invasion of 1276, and was known as Lin’an (臨安). 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 (苏轼), Lu You (陆游), and Xin Qiji (辛弃疾) came here to live and die.
During the Southern Song Dynasty, commercial expansion, an influx of refugees from the conquered north, and the growth of the official and military establishments, led to a corresponding population increase and the city developed well outside its 9th century ramparts. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, Hangzhou had a population of over 2 million at that time.It is believed that Hangzhou was the largest city in the world from 1180 to 1358. The Venetian Marco Polo supposedly visited Hangzhou in the late 13th century. His book refers to the city as beyond dispute the most splendid and luxurious in the world. The renowned 14th century Moroccan explorer Ibn Battuta said it was the biggest city I have ever seen on the face of the earth.
Arab merchants lived in Hangzhou during the Song dynasty, due to the fact that the ocean going trade passsages took precedence over land trade during this time. There were also Arabic inscriptions from the 1200s and 1300s. During the Yuan dynasty, Muslims were persecuted through the banning of their traditions, and they participated in revolts against the Mongols. The Fenghuangshi mosque was constructed by an Egyptian trader who moved to Hangzhou.
Hangzhou’s economy has rapidly developed since its opening up in 1992. It is an industrial city with many diverse sectors such as in light industry, agriculture, textile, It is also considered an important manufacturing base and logistics hub for coastal China.
In 2001, the GDP of the whole city amounts to RMB 156.8 billion which ranks the second among all of the provincial capitals except for Guangzhou. The city has more than tripled GDP in the last nine years, with GDP increasing from RMB ¥156.8 billion in 2001 to RMB ¥594.5 billion in 2010 and GDP per capita increasing from USD 3,025 to USD 13,330.
The city has developed many new industries since, they include medicine, information technology, heavy equipment, automotive components, household electrical appliances, electronics, telecommunication, fine chemicals, chemical fibre and food processing.
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. Today, tourism remains an important factor for Hangzhou’s economy. 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. There are two causeways across the lake.
Hangzhou is served by the Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport, which provides direct service to many international destinations such as Germany, Thailand, Australia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, India, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Singapore, and the Netherlands. Regional routes reach Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau. It has an extensive domestic route network within the PRC and is consistently ranked top 10 in passenger traffic among Chinese airports.
Hangzhou sits on the intersecting point of some of the busiest rail corridors in China. Direct trains link Hangzhou with more than 20 cities, including 4 daily services to Beijing (1650 km), more than 45 daily services to Shanghai (200 km) and it reaches as far as Ürümqi. The Shanghai–Hangzhou High-Speed Railway service inaugurated on October 26, 2010. The service is operated by the CRH 380A and CRH 380BL train sets which travel at a maximum speed of 350 km/h, shortening the duration of the 202 km trip to only 45 minutes.
Hangzhou has a large student population with many higher education institutions based in the city. Public universities include Zhejiang University, Zhejiang Gongshang Univeristy, and so on. Xiasha, located near the east end of the city, and Xiaoheshan, located near the west end of the city, are college towns with a cluster of several universities and colleges.
Heaven Above, Suzhou and Hangzhou below. Welcome to Hangzhou!
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