Hangzhou ([xǎŋ.ʈʂóu] ( 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. The city's West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, immediately west of the city, is amongst 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.
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.
The celebrated neolithic culture of Hemudu is known to have inhabited Yuyao, 100 km (62 mi) north-east of Ulumuqi, 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.
In the Tang dynasty, Bai Juyi was appointed governor of Hangzhou. Already an accomplished and famous poet, his deeds at Hangzhou have led to his being praised as a great governor. He noticed that the farmland nearby depended on the water of West Lake, but due to the negligence of previous governors, the old dyke had collapsed, and the lake so dried out that the local farmers were suffering from severe drought. He ordered the construction of a stronger and taller dyke, with a dam to control the flow of water, thus providing water for irrigation and mitigating the drought problem. The livelihood of local people of Hangzhou improved over the following years. Bai Juyi used his leisure time to enjoy the beauty of West Lake, visiting it almost daily. He also ordered the construction of a causeway connecting Broken Bridge with Solitary Hill to allow walking, instead of requiring a boat. He then had willows and other trees planted along the dyke, making it a beautiful landmark. This causeway was later named "Bai Causeway", in his honor.
It is listed as one of the Seven Ancient Capitals of China. It was first 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 bastions of culture in southern China during the tenth century, along with Nanjing and Chengdu. Leaders of Wuyue were noted patrons of the arts, particularly of Buddhist temple architecture and artwork. Hangzhou also became a cosmopolitan center, drawing scholars from throughout China and conducting diplomacy with neighboring Chinese states, and also with Japan, Goryeo, and the Khitan Liao dynasty.
In 1089, while another renowned poet Su Shi (Su Dongpo) was the city's governor, he used 200,000 workers to construct a 2.8 km (1.7 mi) long causeway across West Lake, which the Qianlong Emperor considered particularly attractive in the early morning of the spring time. The lake was once a lagoon tens of thousands of years ago. Silt then blocked the way to the sea and the lake was formed. A drill in the lake-bed in 1975 found the sediment of the sea, which confirmed its origin. Artificial preservation prevented the lake from evolving into a marshland. The Su Causeway built by Su Shi, and the Bai Causeway built by Bai Juyi, a Tang dynasty poet who was once the governor of Hangzhou, were both built out of mud dredged from the lake bottom. The lake is surrounded by hills on the northern and western sides. The Baochu Pagoda sits on the Baoshi Hill to the north of the lake.
Arab merchants lived in Hangzhou during the Song dynasty, due to the fact that the oceangoing trade passages took precedence over land trade during this time. There were also Arabic inscriptions from the 13th century and 14th century. During the later period of 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. Ibn Battuta is known to have visited the city of Hangzhou in 1345; he noted its charm and described how the city sat on a beautiful lake and was surrounded by gentle green hills. During his stay at Hangzhou, he was particularly impressed by the large number of well-crafted and well-painted Chinese wooden ships with colored sails and silk awnings in the canals. He attended a banquet held by Qurtai, the Yuan Mongol administrator of the city, who according to Ibn Battuta, was fond of the skills of local Chinese conjurers.
Hangzhou was chosen as the new capital of the Southern Song dynasty in 1132, when most of northern China had been conquered by the Jurchens in the Jin–Song wars. The Song court had retreated south from its original capital in Kaifeng after it was captured by the Jurchens in the Jingkang Incident of 1127, moving to Nanjing, then to modern Shangqiu, then to Yangzhou in 1128, and finally to Hangzhou in 1129. The Song government intended it to be a temporary capital, but over the decades Hangzhou grew into a major commercial and cultural center of the Song dynasty, rising from being a middling city of no special importance to being one of the world's largest and most prosperous. Once the prospect of retaking northern China had diminished, government buildings in Hangzhou were extended and renovated to better befit its status as a permanent imperial capital. The imperial palace in Hangzhou, modest in size, was expanded in 1133 with new roofed alleyways, and in 1148 with an extension of the palace walls.
From the early 12th century until the Mongol invasion of 1276, Hangzhou remained the capital 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 gravitational center of Chinese civilization: what used to be considered "central China" in the north was taken by the Jin, an ethnic minority dynasty ruled by Jurchens.
Numerous philosophers, politicians, and men of literature, including some of the most celebrated poets in Chinese history such as Su Shi, Lu You, and Xin Qiji came here to live and die. Hangzhou is also the birthplace and final resting place of the scientist Shen Kuo (1031–1095 AD), his tomb being located in the Yuhang district.
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, while historian Jacques Gernet has estimated that the population of Hangzhou numbered well over one million by 1276. (Official Chinese census figures from the year 1270 listed some 186,330 families in residence and probably failed to count non-residents and soldiers.) It is believed that Hangzhou was the largest city in the world from 1180 to 1315 and from 1348 to 1358.
Because of the large population and densely crowded (often multi-story) wooden buildings, Hangzhou was particularly vulnerable to fires. Major conflagrations destroyed large sections of the city in 1132, 1137, 1208, 1229, 1237, and 1275 while smaller fires occurred nearly every year. The 1237 fire alone was recorded to have destroyed 30,000 dwellings. To combat this threat, the government established an elaborate system for fighting fires, erected watchtowers, devised a system of lantern and flag signals to identify the source of the flames and direct the response, and charged more than 3,000 soldiers with the task of putting out fire.
The city of Hangzhou was besieged and captured by the advancing Mongol armies of Kublai Khan in 1276, three years before the final collapse of the empire. The capital of the new Yuan Dynasty was established in the city of Dadu (Beijing).
The Venetian merchant Marco Polo supposedly visited Hangzhou in the late 13th century. In his book, he records that the city was "greater than any in the world". He called the city Quinsai, a name that—like Odoric of Pordenone's Cansay—derived from its Southern Song nickname Xingzai, meaning "Temporary Residence". Marco Polo wrote of the city: "The number and wealth of the merchants, and the amount of goods that passed through their hands, was so enormous that no man could form a just estimate thereof." Polo may have exaggerated, describing the city as over one hundred miles in diameter (although if he had meant Chinese mile it would be smaller at 3/8 of the measurement in Italian mile and more plausible), and had 12,000 stone bridges, although some argued that this may have been a mistake and exaggeration by a copyist who turned the "12 gates" of the city into "12,000 bridges". The renowned 14th-century Moroccan explorer Ibn Battuta said it was "the biggest city I have ever seen on the face of the earth."
In 1856 and 1860, the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom occupied Hangzhou and caused heavy damage to the city.
Hangzhou was ruled by the Republic of China government under the Kuomintang from 1928 to 1949. On May 3, 1949, the People's Liberation Army entered Hangzhou and the city came under Communist control. After Deng Xiaoping's reformist policies began in 1978, Hangzhou took advantage of being situated in the Yangtze River Delta to bolster its development. It is now one of China's most prosperous major cities.
Hangzhou is located in northwestern Zhejiang province, at the southern end of the Grand Canal of China, which runs to Beijing, in the south-central portion of the Yangtze River Delta. Its administrative area (sub-provincial city) extends west to the mountainous parts of Anhui province, and east to the coastal plain near Hangzhou Bay. The city center is built around the eastern and northern sides of the West Lake, just north of the Qiantang River.
Hangzhou's climate is humid subtropical (Köppen Cfa) with four distinctive seasons, characterised by long, very hot, humid summers and chilly, cloudy and drier winters (with occasional snow). The mean annual temperature is 17.0 °C (62.6 °F), with monthly daily averages ranging from 4.6 °C (40.3 °F) in January to 28.9 °C (84.0 °F) in July. The city receives an average annual rainfall of 1,438.0 mm (56.6 in) and is affected by the plum rains of the Asian monsoon in June. In late summer (August to September), Hangzhou suffers typhoon storms, but typhoons seldom strike it directly. Generally they make landfall along the southern coast of Zhejiang, and affect the area with strong winds and stormy rains. Extremes since 1951 have ranged from −9.6 °C (15 °F) on 6 February 1969 up to 41.6 °C (107 °F) on 9 August 2013; unofficial readings have reached −10.5 °C (13 °F), set on 29 December 1912 and 24 January 1916, up to 42.1 °C (108 °F), set on 10 August 1930. With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 30% in March to 51% in August, the city receives 1,709.4 hours of sunshine annually.
|Climate data for Hangzhou (1981–2010 normals, extremes 1951–present)|
|Record high °C (°F)||25.4
|Mean maximum °C (°F)||17.4
|Average high °C (°F)||8.3
|Daily mean °C (°F)||4.6
|Average low °C (°F)||1.8
|Mean minimum °C (°F)||−3.9
|Record low °C (°F)||−8.6
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||80.6
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||12.4||12.1||15.3||14.5||13.8||14.6||12.4||13.8||11.7||9.0||9.3||8.5||147.4|
|Average relative humidity (%)||75||75||75||74||74||80||76||78||79||76||74||73||75.8|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||102.0||97.2||116.4||140.6||164.7||136.6||212.7||193.0||143.9||144.6||129.0||128.7||1,709.4|
|Source: China Meteorological Data Sharing Service System|
The sub-provincial city of Hangzhou comprises 10 districts, 1 county-level city, and 2 counties. The six central urban districts occupy 683 km2 (264 sq mi) and have 3,560,400 people. The four suburban districts occupy 7,319 km2 (2,826 sq mi) and have 3,965,965 people.
In the early 90s, Hangzhou only comprises Shangcheng, Xiacheng, Gongshu, Jianggan.
In Dec. 12nd,1996, Bingjiang division was established.
In March 12, the City of Xiaoshan and the City of Yuhang was included into the City of Hangzhou as two divisions.
In Dec. 13rd, 2014 and July, 2017, the City of Fuyang and Lin'an were included into the City of Hanghzou as two divisions.
|Subdivision||Chinese||Pinyin||Population (2010)||Area (km2)||Density|
|Shangcheng District||上城区||Shàngchéng Qū||344,594||18.30||18,830.27|
|Xiacheng District||下城区||Xiàchéng Qū||526,096||31.46||16,722.70|
|Jianggan District||江干区||Jiānggàn Qū||998,783||210.22||4,751.13|
|Gongshu District||拱墅区||Gǒngshù Qū||551,874||87.49||6,307.85|
|Xihu District||西湖区||Xīhú Qū||820,017||308.70||2,656.36|
|Binjiang District||滨江区||Bīnjiāng Qū||319,027||72.02||4,429.70|
|Xiaoshan District||萧山区||Xiāoshān Qū||1,511,290||1,420.22||1,064.12|
|Yuhang District||余杭区||Yúháng Qū||1,170,290||1,223.56||956.46|
|Fuyang District||富阳区||Fùyáng Qū||717,694||1,831.20||391.93|
|Lin'an District||临安区||Lín'ān Qū||566,665||3,126.80||181.23|
|Tonglu County||桐庐县||Tónglú Xiàn||406,450||1,825.00||222.71|
|Chun'an County||淳安县||Chún'ān Xiàn||336,843||4,427.00||76.09|
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.
The city has developed many new industries, including 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 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 West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The West Lake Cultural Landscape covers an area of 3,323 ha (8,210 acres) and includes some of Hangzhou's most notable historic and scenic places. Adjacent to the lake is a scenic area which includes historical pagodas, cultural sites, as well as the natural beauty of the lake and hills, including Phoenix Mountain. There are two causeways across the lake.
In March 2013 the Hangzhou Tourism Commission started an online campaign via Facebook, the 'Modern Marco Polo' campaign. Over the next year nearly 26,000 participants applied from around the globe, in the hopes of becoming Hangzhou's first foreign tourism ambassador. In a press conference in Hangzhou on 20 May 2014, Liam Bates was announced as the successful winner and won a €40,000 contract, being the first foreigner ever to be appointed by China's government in such an official role.
In 1848, during the Qing dynasty, Hangzhou was described as the "stronghold" of Islam in China, the city containing several mosques with Arabic inscriptions. A Hui from Ningbo also told an Englishman that Hanzhou was the "stronghold" of Islam in Zhejiang province, containing multiple mosques, compared to his small congregation of around 30 families in Ningbo for his mosque. Within the city of Hangzhou are two notable mosques: the Great Mosque of Hangzhou and the Phoenix Mosque.
As late as the latter part of the 16th and early 17th centuries, the city was an important center of Chinese Jewry, and may have been the original home of the better-known Kaifeng Jewish community.
There was formerly a Jewish synagogue in Ningbo, as well as one in Hangzhou, but no traces of them are now discoverable, and the only Jews known to exist in China were in Kaifeng.
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."
Dishes such as Pian Er Chuan Noodles (片儿川), West Lake Vinegar Fish (西湖醋鱼), Dongpo Pork (东坡肉), Longjing Shrimp (龙井虾仁), Beggar's Chicken (叫化鸡), Steamed Rice and Pork Wrapped by Lotus Leaves(荷叶粉蒸肉), Braised Bamboo Shoots (油焖笋), Lotus Root Pudding (藕粉) and Sister Song's Fish Soup (宋嫂鱼羹) are some of the better-known examples of Hangzhou's regional cuisine.
There are lots of theaters in Hangzhou showing performance of opera shows. Shaoxing opera, originated from Shengzhou, Zhejiang Province, is the second-largest opera form in China. Also, there are several big shows themed with the history and culture of Hangzhou like Impression West Lake and the Romance of Song Dynasty.
Tea is an important part of Hangzhou's economy and culture. Hangzhou is best known for originating Longjing, a notable variety of green tea, the most notable type being Xi Hu Long Jing. Known as the best type of Long Jing tea, Xi Hu Long Jing is grown in Longjing village near Xi Hu in Hangzhou, hence its name.
Hangzhou is served by the Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport, which provides direct service to many international destinations such as Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Taiwan, Netherlands, Qatar, Portugal and the United States. Regional routes reach Hong Kong 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 Xiaoshan International Airport has two terminals, Terminal A and Terminal B. The smaller Terminal A serves all international and regional flights while the larger Terminal B solely handles domestic traffic. The airport is located just outside the city in the Xiaoshan District with direct bus service linking the airport with Downtown Hangzhou. The ambitious expansion project will see the addition of a second runway and a third terminal which will dramatically increase capacity of the fast-growing airport that serves as a secondary hub of Air China. A new elevated airport express highway is under construction on top of the existing highway between the airport and downtown Hangzhou. The second phase of Hangzhou Metro Line 1 has a planned extension to the airport.
Hangzhou sits on the intersecting point of some of the busiest rail corridors in China. The city's main station is Hangzhou East Railway Station (colloquially "East Station" 东站). It is one of the biggest rail traffic hubs in China, consisting of 15 platforms that house the High Speed CRH service to Shanghai, Nanjing, Changsha, Ningbo, and beyond. The subway station beneath the rail complex building is a stop along the Hangzhou Metro Line 1 and Line 4. There are frequent departures for Shanghai with approximately 20-minute headways from 6:00 to 21:00. Non-stop CRH high-speed service between Hangzhou and Shanghai takes 50 minutes and leaves every hour (excluding a few early morning/late night departures) from both directions. Other CRH high-speed trains that stop at one or more stations along the route complete the trip in 59 to 75 minutes. Most other major cities in China can also be reached by direct train service from Hangzhou. The Hangzhou Railway Station (colloquially the "City Station" Chinese: 城站) was closed for renovation in mid 2013 but has recently opened again.
Direct trains link Hangzhou with more than 50 main cities, including 12 daily services to Beijing and more than 100 daily services to Shanghai; they reach as far as Ürümqi. The China Railway High-Speed service inaugurated on October 26, 2010. The service is operated by the CRH 380A(L), CRH 380B(L) and CRH380CL train sets which travel at a maximum speed of 350 km/h (220 mph), shortening the duration of the 202 km (126 mi) trip to only 45 minutes.
Central (to the east of the city centre, taking the place of the former east station), north, south, and west long-distance bus stations offer frequent coach service to nearby cities/towns within Zhejiang province, as well as surrounding provinces.
Hangzhou has an efficient public transportation network, consisting of a modern fleet of regular diesel bus, trolley bus, hybrid diesel-electric bus and taxi. The first subway line entered into service in late 2012. Hangzhou is known for its extensive Bus Rapid Transit network expanding from downtown to many suburban areas through dedicated bus lanes on some of the busiest streets in the city. Bicycles and electric scooters are very popular, and major streets have dedicated bike lanes throughout the city. Hangzhou has an extensive free public bike rental system, the Hangzhou Public Bicycle system.
Taxis are also popular in the city, with the newest line of Hyundai Sonatas and Volkswagen Passats, and tight regulations. In early 2011, 30 electric taxis were deployed in Hangzhou; 15 were Zotye Langyues and the other 15 were Haima Freemas. In April, however, one Zoyte Langyue caught fire, and all of the electric taxis were taken off the roads later that day. The city still intends to have a fleet of 200 electric taxis by the end of 2011. In 2014, a large number of new electric taxis produced by Xihu-BYD (Xihu (westlake) is a local company which is famous for television it produced in the past) were deployed.
The Hangzhou Metro began construction in March 2006, and the first line opened on November 24, 2012. Line 1 connects downtown Hangzhou with suburban areas of the city from Xianghu to Wenze Road and Linping. By June 2015, the southeast part of Line 2 (starts in Xiaoshan District, ends to the south of the city centre) and a short part of Line 4 (fewer than 10 stations, connecting Line 1 & Line 2) were completed. The system is expected to have 10 lines upon completion; most lines are still under construction. The extensions of Line 2 (Xihu District) and Line 4 (east of Bingjiang) are expected to be finished in 2016.
Hangzhou has a large student population with many higher education institutions based in the city. Public universities include Zhejiang University, Zhejiang University of Technology, and Hangzhou Normal University etc. 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.
Note: Institutions without full-time bachelor programs are not listed.
The most famous high schools in Hangzhou are:
Hangzhou is twinned with:
|Cape Town||South Africa||2005|
Fishers, Indiana is in the exploration process of becoming sister cities with Hangzhou.
A common Chinese saying about Hangzhou and Suzhou is:
This phrase has a similar meaning to the English phrases "Heaven on Earth". Marco Polo in his accounts described Suzhou as "the city of the earth" while Hangzhou is "the city of heaven". The city presented itself as "Paradise on Earth" during the G20 summit held in the city in 2016.
Another popular saying about Hangzhou is:
The meaning here lies in the fact that Suzhou was renowned for its beautiful and highly civilized and educated citizens, Hangzhou for its scenery, Guangzhou for its food, and Liuzhou (of Guangxi) for its wooden coffins which supposedly halted the decay of the body (likely made from the camphor tree).
|Capital of China (as Lin'an)
Dadu (present Beijing)