Overview

Brief Introduction to Hangzhou

Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province in East China, is one of the more modern and prosperous cities in China, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southwest of Shanghai. It sits at the southern end of the Grand Canal and is one of China's seven ancient national capitals.

When Marco Polo came to Hangzhou in the 13th century, he declared it to be “the most beautiful and elegant city in the world". There is a popular saying: "Above there is heaven, below there are Hangzhou and Suzhou." Hangzhou's "heavenly" beauty attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists to its exquisite West Lake (Xi Hu) area each year to enjoy the placid lake, beautiful gardens, reflecting pools, lavish temples and lakeside teahouses.


Hangzhou began to prosper and flourish in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). It was the capital of the Wu and Yue States in the 10th Century during the Five Dynasties Period, and had its political heyday in the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), when it served as the capital of China. Hangzhou witnessed a commercial boom in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties, which is continuing at present.  

There are many well-known historical and cultural sites in the areas around West Lake. Examples are the Lingyin Temple and Six Harmonies Pagoda. Hangzhou is also well known for its silk and tea. A trip to Hangzhou can be easily combined with a visit to a tea plantation in the hills near the West Lake.


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.


In September 2015, Hangzhou was awarded the 2022 Asian Games. It will be the third Chinese city to play host to the Asian Games after Beijing 1990 and Guangzhou 2010. Hangzhou, an emerging technology hub and home to the e-commerce giant Alibaba, also hosted the eleventh G-20 summit in 2016.