Place:Suzhou, Jiangsu, People's Republic of China

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NameSuzhou
Alt namesSoochowsource: Times Atlas of World History (1993) p 356
Su-chousource: NIMA, GEOnet Names Server (1996-1998)
Su-chousource: Wikipedia
Suchousource: Rand McNally Atlas (1994) I-168
Sutschousource: Rand McNally Atlas (1994) I-170
Wuhsiensource: Webster's Geographical Dictionary (1984) p 1160
TypeCity
Coordinates31.35°N 120.667°E
Located inJiangsu, People's Republic of China
Contained Places
Inhabited place
Changshu
Dongzhu
Kunshan
Taicang
Zhangjiagang
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Suzhou (Wu Chinese [sou˥ tseu˨˩ ]), formerly romanized as Soochow, is a major city located in southeastern Jiangsu Province of East China, about northwest of Shanghai. It is a major economic center and focal point of trade and commerce, and the second largest city in the province, after its capital Nanjing. The city is situated on the lower reaches of the Yangtze River and the shores of Lake Tai and belongs to the Yangtze River Delta region. Administratively, Suzhou is a prefecture-level city with a population of 4.33 million in its city proper, and a total resident population of 10.58 million in its administrative area.[1] Its urban population grew at an unprecedented rate of 6.5% between 2000 and 2014, which is the highest among cities with more than 5 million people.

Founded in 514BC, Suzhou has over 2,500 years of history, with an abundant display of relics and sites of historical interest. Around AD100, during the Eastern Han dynasty, it became one of the ten largest cities in the world mostly due to emigration from Northern China. Since the 10th-century Song dynasty, it has been an important commercial center of China. During the Ming and Qing dynasties , Suzhou was a national economic, cultural, and commercial center, as well as the largest non-capital city in the world, until the 1860 Taiping Rebellion. When Li Hongzhang and Charles George Gordon recaptured the city three years later, Shanghai had already taken its predominant place in the nation. Since major economic reforms began in 1978, Suzhou has become one of the fastest growing major cities in the world, with GDP growth rates of about 14% in the past 35 years. With high life expectancy and per capita incomes, Suzhou's Human Development Index ratings is roughly comparable to a moderately developed country, making it one of the most highly developed and prosperous cities in China.[2]

The city's canals, stone bridges, pagodas, and meticulously designed gardens have contributed to its status as one of the top tourist attractions in China. The Classical Gardens of Suzhou were added to the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997 and 2000. Suzhou is often dubbed the "Venice of the East" or "Venice of China".

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Suzhou, the cradle of Wu culture, is one of the oldest towns in the Yangtze Basin. By the Spring and Autumn period of the Zhou, local tribes named the Gou Wu are recorded living in the area which would become the modern city of Suzhou. These tribes formed villages on the edges of the hills above the wetlands surrounding Lake Tai.

Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian records traditional accounts that the Zhou lord Taibo established the state of Wu at nearby Wuxi during the 11th centuryBC, civilizing the local people and improving their agriculture and mastery of irrigation. The Wu court later moved to Gusu within the area of modern Suzhou. In 514BC, King Helü of Wu relocated his court nearby and called the settlement Helü City after himself. His minister Wu Zixu was closely involved with its planning and it was this site that grew into present-day Suzhou. The height of his tower on Gusu Hill (Gusutai) passed into Chinese legend. In 496BC, King Helü was buried at Tiger Hill. In 473BC, Wu was defeated and annexed by Yue, a kingdom to its southeast; Yue was annexed in turn by Chu in 306BC. Remnants of the ancient kingdom include pieces of its 2,500-year-old city wall and the gate through it at Pan Gate.

The city was originally laid out according to a symbolic three-by-three grid of nine squares, with the royal palace occupying the central position.

During the Warring States period, Suzhou was the seat of Wu County and Commandery. Following the Qin Empire's conquest of the area in 222BC, it was made the capital of Kuaiji Commandery, including lands stretching from the south bank of the Yangtze to the unconquered interior of Minyue in southern Zhejiang. Amid the collapse of the Qin, Kuaiji's governor Yin Tong attempted to organize his own rebellion only to be betrayed and executed by Xiang Liang and his nephew Xiang Yu, who launched their own rebellion from the city.

When the Grand Canal was completed, Suzhou found itself strategically located on a major trade route. In the course of the history of China, it has been a metropolis of industry and commerce on the southeastern coast of China. During the Tang dynasty, the great poet Bai Juyi constructed the Shantang Canal (better known as "Shantang Street") to connect the city with Tiger Hill for tourists. In AD1035, the Suzhou Confucian Temple was founded by famed poet and writer Fan Zhongyan. It became a venue for the imperial civil examinations and then developed into the modern Suzhou High School in the 1910s.


In February 1130, the advancing Jin army from the north ransacked the city. This was followed by the Mongol invasion in 1275. In 1356, Suzhou became the capital of Zhang Shicheng, one of the leaders of the Red Turban Rebellion against the Yuan dynasty and the self-proclaimed King of Wu. In 1367, Zhang's Nanjing-based rival Zhu Yuanzhang took the city after a 10-month siege. Zhu who was soon to proclaim himself the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty demolished the royal city in the center of Suzhou's walled city and imposed crushing taxes on the city and prefecture's powerful families. Despite the heavy taxation and the resettlement of some of Suzhou's prominent citizens' to the area of Hongwu's capital at Nanjing, Suzhou was soon prosperous again. During the early Ming, Suzhou Prefecture supervised the Yangtze shoals which later became Shanghai's Chongming Island. For centuries the city, with its surroundings as an economic base, represented an extraordinary source of tax revenue.

When the shipwrecked Korean official Choe Bu had a chance to see much of Eastern China from Zhejiang to Liaoning on his way home in 1488, he described Suzhou in his travel report as exceeding every other city. Many of the area's private gardens were constructed by the gentry of the Ming and Qing dynasties. The iconoclast Taipings captured the city in 1860, however, and its former buildings and gardens were "almost... a heap of ruins" by the time of their recovery by Charles Gordon's Ever-Victorious Army in November 1863. Nonetheless, by 1880, its population was estimated to have recovered to about 500,000, which remained stable for the next few decades. In the late 19th century, the town was particularly known for its wide range of silks and its Chinese-language publishing industry. The town was first opened to direct foreign trade by the Treaty of Shimonoseki ending the First Sino-Japanese War and by the most favored nation clauses of earlier unequal treaties with the Great Powers. The new expatriates opened a European-and-Chinese school in 1900 and the Suzhou railway station, connecting it with Shanghai, opened on July 16, 1906. Just prior to the World War I, there were 7000 silk looms in operation, as well as a cotton mill and a large trade in rice.


As late as the early 20th century, much of the city consisted of islands connected by rivers, creeks, and canals to the surrounding countryside. Prior to their demolition, the city walls ran in a circuit of about with four large suburbs lying outside. The Japanese invaded in 1937, and many gardens were again devastated by the end of the war. In the early 1950s, restoration was done on the Humble Administrator's Garden and the Lingering Garden.

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