"In Heaven there is Paradise, on Earth, Suzhou and Hangzhou". This popular, traditional saying simply and delicately summarizes the extraordinary beauty of Hangzhou. It is an ancient city, one of the birthplaces of Chinese civilization and has a history that can be traced back to its settlement by the Aurora Liangzhu civilization, 4700 years ago! Today, Hangzhou is well known for its shopping and business opportunities, as well as its many scenic delights, namely West Lake. West Lake is a classical example of traditional Chinese landscape. The lake is lush with the natural beauty, elegance, and harmony associated with Chinese culture, offering luxuriant weeping willows, serenely scented temples and pagodas, art treasures, and numerous ideal spots for relaxation. The rich cultural history and magnificent scenery are perhaps the reason that Marco Polo, the noted Italian traveler in the 13th century, described Hangzhou as "the most splendid and luxurious city in the world."
The capital of Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou is located on the southern part of the Yangtze River Delta, a short, 150km train ride from its northern neighbour Shanghai. To the south lies the Qiantang River, and to the west, rolling hills that extend north into the mountain ranges of Anhui Province. Between these hills and the urban centre lies the breathtaking West Lake.
Climate and Environment
Hangzhou has a humid, subtropical climate with four distinct seasons that range from hot, sticky summers to chilly winters. The average seasonal temperatures range from 28.6°C in summer down to 3.8°C in winter, while the average annual rainfall is 1,435mm with an average relative humidity of 76%. While the city boasts a beautiful array of vegetative colours all year round, Spring sees the humidity at its lowest as the flora explodes and bathes the city in a brilliant green. Towards the end of September, the bronzed Autumn leaves, clear skies and comfortable temperatures provide the perfect setting to revel in the beauty of the full moon during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Hangzhou is made up of eight districts - Shangcheng, Xiacheng, Gongshu, Xihu, Jianggan, Binjiang, Xiaoshan, and Yuhang, as well as five counties - Fuyang, Lin'an, Jiande, Tonglu, and Chun'an which are under the jurisdiction of Hangzhou. The total area of the city is 16,596km2 with a population of 6,663,100.