Port and capital of Zhejiang province, China, on the mouth of the Qiantang River, at the southern terminus of the Grand Canal, 175 km/109 mi southwest of Shanghai; population (2010) 6,242,000. Products include jute, steel, machine tools, chemicals, electronics, processed foods, tea, silk and cotton textiles, fans, and gold-embroidered goods. Hangzhou has fine landscaped gardens, and was the capital of China from 1127 to 1278 under the Song dynasty.
History Hangzhou was the capital of the Southern Song dynasty (1127–1297). It is the Kinsai, Kingtse, or Quinsay of the 13th-century Venetian traveller Marco Polo, who described it as the world's most beautiful city; in his day the city had a garrison of 30,000 soldiers and contained ‘600,000 families’. Hangzhou was held by the Taipings between 1861 and 1864, during the Taiping Rebellion against the Qing dynasty. The port was opened to foreign commerce in 1896. When the nationalists made Nanjing their capital in 1928, Hangzhou became very important as the port of that city. It fell to the Japanese on 24 December 1937. In the civil war following World War II, Hangzhou was abandoned by the nationalists to communist troops in May 1949. The city has always been a literary centre.
Location The city is situated on Hangzhou Bay. The estuary of the Qiantang River tides below the city, causing the Hangzhou Bore, a considerable hindrance to navigation. The beautiful West Lake (Xi Hu), with its neighbouring ancient monasteries and shrines, is close to the city centre and is a popular tourist attraction.
tea plantation, Hangzhou