City Guide, 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. With enchanting natural beauty and abundant
cultural heritages, Hangzhou is known as 'Heaven on Earth' and one of China's most
important tourist venues.
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.
A number of national museums can be found in Hangzhou and are representative
of Chinese culture. Fine examples are the National Silk Museum and National Tea
Museum. Along with the other museums in Hangzhou, they provide a fascinating insight
into the history of Chinese traditional products.
The local government of Hangzhou heavily invests in promoting tourism and the
arts, with emphasis placed upon silk production, umbrellas, and Chinese hand-held
folding fans. Advanced silk, printing, paper and porcelain production, together
with an elegant society and culture made it the most beautiful and luxurious city
in the world, as praised by Italian traveler Marco Polo. Although no longer the
center of a dynasty, Hangzhou remains a shining pearl in the southeast.
Food and drink
One of the most important parts of traveling is tasting the local delicacies.
Hangzhou dishes are noted for their elaborate preparation, sophisticated cooking
and refreshing taste. Many local specialties will be sure to make your trip a cultural
experience. We recommend that you try Beggar's Chicken (a chicken baked in clay),
West Lake Fish in Sweet Sour Source (vinegar coated fish fresh caught from the lake),
Dongpo Pork (braised pork) and Fried Shrimps with Longjing Tea,which is a notable
variety of green tea.
The shopping environment in Hangzhou is exciting and convenient. It is one of
the most famous and historic streets in the city and reflects many of the features
of the Southern SongDynasty (1127-1279). Shoppers will admire the antique buildings
while purchasing items from a wide range of local goods such as silks, tea or maybe
a silk parasol, brocade or a beautiful Hangzhou fan. These are just some of the
items to be found but there are many more.