Hangzhou lies in East China's Zhejiang province. It is one of the six ancient capital cities of China, as 14 emperors set up their capital here.
Hangzhou rose to prominence when the southern end of the Grand Canal reached here at the start of the seventh century. The Grand Canal was a great achievement. With the northern end in Beijing, it still runs through two cities and four provinces. It was an important waterway in ancient China. Known as a Living Relic, the Canal is the oldest and longest in the world. After the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279 AD) moved its court here, Hangzhou's growth was greatly accelerated.
The famous ancient proverb "In Heaven there is Paradise, on earth Suzhou and Hangzhou" means that Suzhou and Hangzhou were the finest and the most splendid places in the world. Hangzhou is a picturesque city with many beautiful scenic spots. The West Lake has been China's best-known tourist spot since ancient China. The tide of the Qiantang River attracts a great number of visitors every autumn.
Famous historic relics include the Six Harmonies Pagoda, the Temple of Inspired Seclusion (Lingyin Si), Tianzhu Temple, stone-tablet sculptures of the 16 Buddhists in the Confucius Temple, the statue of Goddess of Mercy (Guanyin) in the Yanxia Cave, the Jigong Hall in the Jingci Temple, and Buddhist statues in the Ziyang Temple.
Since the Ming Dynasty, Hangzhou has been famous for silk fabrics and silk embroidery. Silk, fans, and Longjing tea are called the Three Unique Specialties of Hangzhou. The other well-known products include West Lake lotus root starch, Tianzhu chopsticks, and white chrysanthemums. Hangzhou also has many famous shops and restaurants with a long history, such as Huqingyu Chinese traditional medicine shop, Zhangxiaoquan cutlery shop, Louwailou and Kuiyuan restaurants.