Hangzhou is famous historical and cultural city in China, reputed as one of the 7 major ancient capitals in the Chinese history. Hangzhou has a long history and it has been found that fifty thousand years ago the "Jiande people", one of the ancient homo sapiens, lived in this area. In the late Neolithic Period more than five thousand years ago, ancestors of Hangzhou people inhabited the area around the Liangzhu, the northern suburb of the city, and were engaged in primitive agriculture, livestock raising, fishing and hunting. From the Spring and Autumn Period to the Warring States Period, the area was occupied as the territory of Wu, Yue and Chu successively. When Emperor Qin Shihuang defeated all the princes and unified China, this area was established as Qiantang County. The name was changed to Hangzhou during the reign of Emperor Sui Kaihuang and lasted to this day. Established as capital in the periods of the Five Dynasties and the Southern Song Dynasty, and lasting for more than 200 years, Hangzhou saw its height of power and splendor in its history, and was called the "first city in the Southeast China". During the period of Yuan Dynasty, Hangzhou was established as a town of strategic importance, with flourishing economy and beautiful scenery, being, in the words of the Italian traveler Marco Polo, the "most beautiful and luxurious city in the world". In the period of Ming and Qing Dynasties, Hangzhou was still leading the way in economic, social and cultural development in China. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, Hangzhou became the capital of Zhejiang Province, functioning as the political, economic and cultural center, as well as a transportation hub in the province. With the renowned sight-seeing spot, West Lake, being trimmed and harnessed on an unprecedented scale, Hangzhou has become a famous city for scenery tourism in the world.

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Located in the south of Yangtse River Delta, on the northern bank of the lower reach of the Qiantang River, Hangzhou is at the southern end of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, with its center lying 30.15 degrees north latitude and 120.16 degrees east longitude. In southwest Hangzhou there is a foothill, joined by the undulated Tianmu Mountains, with an altitude generally lower than 500 meters. The northeastern part of the city is flat, with an altitude of 3 to 10 meters. Hangzhou has 6 urban districts: Shangcheng, Xiacheng, Jianggan, Gongshu, West Lake, Banshan; and 7 suburban counties: Xiaoshan, Fuyang, Yuhang, Tonglu, Lin'an, Jiande, Chun'an, with an area of more than 16 thousand sq.km.

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Located in the joint of the middle and north semitropical area, Hangzhou has a warm and humid climate with distinct four seasons, sufficient sunshine and plenty of rainfall. The annual mean temperature is 16.2℃, 28.6℃ in summer and 3.8℃ in winter. The frost-free period lasts 230 to 260 days. The annual mean precipitation is 1,435 mm and the annual mean relative humidity is 76%.
Annual Climate of Hangzhou City

Month Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May June July Auq. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.

Average C°


5.1 9.3 15.4 20.2 24.3 28.6 28.0 23.3 17.7 12.1 6.3

Average Highest C°

8.0 9.3 13.7 20.2 24.7 28.6 33.3 32.7 27.6 22.5 16.9 10.8

Average Lowest C°

0.7 1.9 5.9 11.6 16.6 21.0 25.0 24.6 20.3 14.0 8.4 8.9

Precipitation (mm)

62.2 88.7 114.1 130.4 179.9 196.2 126.5 136.5 177.6 77.9 54.7 54.0

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Natural Ecological Environment

With beautiful natural scenery and rich tourism resources, Hangzhou is one of the key cities for scenery tourism in the country. According to the saying that "we have paradise in the heaven and we have Suzhou and Hangzhou on the earth", Hangzhou has long attracted people's admiration, with innumerous beautiful poems dedicated to it in eulogy.
Hangzhou is covered by middle semi tropic evergreen broad-leaved vegetation, with a mean green coverage rate of 61.9 percent. Tianmu Mountain and Longtang Mountain in Lin'an City were listed as natural protecting areas atstate and provincial level. With mainly red earth and paddy soil, the earth of Hangzhou is suitable for planting tea plant and fruit tree, and Hangzhou is also one of the major producing areas of grain, oil, cotton, hemp, mulberry and vegetables. The great rivers of Hangzhou include Qiantang River, Dongshao River and the Great Canal. Being the largest one in East China littoral, Xin'an River Reservoir has a capacity of 17.8 billion m3. With 1,078 islands in the reservoir, it is also called "the Thousand-Island lake". The West Lake, in the west of Hangzhou, is famous in the world for its perfect combination of natural scenery and human-built sight, with the glimmering lake and the reflection of the mountains on it setting each other off and forming a delightful scene. It is a brightly colorful drawing of tourism with the green-wave rippling West Lake, surging rivers, the lush Tianmu Mountains, the two rivers with their beautiful scenes, valleys with outlandish rocks and cobblestones, magnificent temples, valuable and rare historical remains. Hangzhou is a famous city for scenery tourism. In recent years the government of the city has invested a lot to further increase the city's afforestation, to improve its image and to create beautiful surroundings. As a result, the city has achieved a green coverage ratio of 31.8%.

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The economy of Hangzhou has developed consistently and rapidly. Its general economic strength is one of the top ten in China and its GDP is No.2 among the provincial capitals in China. In 1998, the GDP of Hangzhou was 113.5 billion. Computed according to comparable prices, it had a growth of 11.2 percent, compared with the previous year. GDP per capita reached 18.6 thousand yuan, which was more than $2,200, according to the exchange rate of that year. Sustaining the continuous development of national economy, Hangzhou also develops the third industry vigorously. In 1998, the increase of the third industry was 27.5 percent of that of Zhejiang Province, 0.8 percent higher than the previous year in the proportion in the industry structure, and the proportion of employees in the third industry was 2.5 percent higher than that of the previous year.

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Hangzhou has a brilliant and profound culture. Ever since the late Neolithic Period, the area has seen unique and colorful Liangzhu culture, Wuyue culture, Southern Song Culture and Ming-Qing culture, which formed a complete series of cultural development, making an important contribution to China's cultural history. The Hangzhou culture has nurtured and attracted numerous politicians, scientists, artists, national heroes, loyal officials, righteous persons, judicious govemors and skillful craftsmen, who had make outstanding contributions to their country and their hometown's political, economic, cultural and social development, leaving great pages of historic literature for the city and contributing to the formation of Hangzhou's image and status as a "cultural county" and "historically famous city".

Since 1980s, Hangzhou has built quite a few museums that represent the Chinese culture, including the Chinese Tea Museum, Chinese silk Museum, Chinese Liangzhu Culture Museum, Southern Song Official Kiln Museum, Hu qingyu Pharmaceutical Workshop Traditional Medicine Museum and Zhang Xiaoquan Scissors Museum, further enriching the cultural content.

Reputed as a "cultural county" in its history, Hangzhou is now more developed in the fields of science & technology, education, and culture. There are more than 350 research institutes at state, provincial and municipal level, preliminarily forming a multi-level and multi-structure educational system, further carrying out the strategy of "building a prosperous city through science and education". Various cultural and artistic activities have been increasingly flourishing, with local dramas and operas contesting with each other actively, while journalism, publication, broadcasting and TV have been developed steadily, forming a complete educational system from kindergarten, elementary and secondary school to higher education and various vocational education and adult education, producing a great number of persons with ability for the modernization and construction.

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A Survey of Tourist Industry

Rich in tourist resources, Hangzhou has two national scenery spots within its territory: the West Lake scenery spot and the Fuchun River, Xin'an River and Thousand-Island Lake (two rivers and one lake) scenery spot, along with one national nature reservations: the Tianmu Mountains Nature Reservation; and 2 national forest parks: the Thousand-Island Forest Park and Daqishan Forest Park. In recent years, Hangzhou carried out the developing strategy of "large Hangzhou, large-scale tour and great industry", and has formed a travel network based on West Lake Scenery Spot, reaching Shaoxing, Ningbo and Putuo in the east, Huangshan Mountain and Jiuhuashan Mountain in the west, with Tiantai Mountain, Yandang Mountain in the south and Moganshan Mountain, Shanghai, Suzhou, Wuxi and Nanjing in the north.

In 1998, Hangzhou received 510 thousand foreign tourists, earning $ 210 million; 2.121 million domestic tourists, earning 14.6 billion RMB. In 1998, Hangzhou was appraised as one of the first group of "Top Tourist Cities of China" and the West Lake Scenery Spot became one of the ten model civilized scenery spots in China. Now there are 130 travel agencies, possessing guides and interpreters in 15 languages, in Hangzhou. The city possesses over 2,500 hotels, more than 140 thousand guestrooms and over 110 foreign-related hotels, more than 17 thou sand guestrooms, in which, there are 35 star-rated hotels and 7,760 guestrooms. The construction of Zhejiang World Trade Center, etc. provides favorable facilities for international and domestic meetings, exhibitions and tours on business.

In construction, Hangzhou has made heavy investment in the city's infrastructure, with the city's outlook changing each day. From Hangzhou Airport, there are more than 100 flights each week, departing for Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Beijing, Xi'an, Guiling and other domestic cities. The railway and road traffic network of Hangzhou with that of other areas is extended in all directions. 6 pairs of special tourist trains have been put into operation, together with other two pairs making stopover in Hangzhou. In road transportation, the Shanghai-Hangzhou and Hangyong Expressways have been put into operation. In addition, Hangzhou has built passenger wharf by the canal, sending out pleasure boats to Suzhou, Wuxi and other places. In the urban area, there are 101 traffic lines of buses and trolley buses, with 7 special tourist lines leading to scenery spots. Besides, there are more than 5,000 various taxicabs. Convenient and quick telecommunication network has been built, with DDD telephone to 2,115 cities and towns (areas) and IDD to 232 countries and regions.

  Till the end of 1998, Hangzhou has formed friendly relationship with 8 cities in 7 countries, which include Gifu of Japan (in 1979), Fukui of Japan (in 1982), Boston of USA (in 1982), Baguio of Philippine (in 1982), Leeds of England (in 1988), Yosu of Korea (in 1993), Nice of France (in 1998), and Paramaribo of Surinam (in 1998). Hangzhou has also formed friendly relationship with 5 domestic cities, Lhasa (in 1993), Urumchi (in 1978), Haikou (in 1988), Hohhot (in 1995) and Harbin (in 1996).

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Local Culture

  • Dramas and Folk arts
    Shaoxing Opera is the chief local opera in Hangzhou, which became popular 70 years ago ground Sheng County, and has become one of the major operas in the country. The Shaoxing Opera is very lyrical, with graceful melody and exquisite performance. Around the year of 1949, there were more than 10 Shaoxing Opera groups in Hangzhou, including Friend and Honeybee. After the liberation, the first effort was made here for females to play a part in the theatrical troupe, with a good effect. The usual repertoire includes Scholar Liang Shanbo and Lady Zhu Yingtai, Husband Pan, Romance in the Western Wing-room, Rouge, Jasper Hairpin, and Dragon and Phoenix Lock.

  • Folk Customs
    Dragon's Well Green Tea and Running Tiger Spring
    China is the country of tea and Hangzhou is the birthplace of tea. The West Lake Dragon's Well green tea, with a history of more than 1,200 years and ranked at the top of the major 10 famous teas in China, is the very best of teas, once used as a tribute for emperors. The Dragon's Well green tea is rare for its pretty color, sweet scent, mellow taste and nice shape. Such a famous tea should be accompanied by good water, hence the saying that "Dragon's Well green tea goes with the Running Tiger water", meaning that the Dragon's Well green tea should be brewed with the water from the famous Running Tiger Spring at the West Lake. Thus, the tea and the water are regarded as the Two Excellencies of the West Lake.

    Wedding Ceremonies of the "Nine Surname Fishers on the xin'an River"
    There once lived on Xin'an River fisher folks with nine family names, Chen, Qian, Lin, Yuan, Sun, Ye, Xu, Liand He. Tradition has it that the ancestors of these nine sumame fisherfolks once followed Chen Youliang to fight Zhu Yuanzhang for the ruling power over the country. With the defeat of Chen, Zhu Yuanzhang, the founder of Ming Dynasty demoted the folks as "untouchable fisher folks" and drove them to the river, with a decree forbidding them from taking residences other than their boats, participating in local and imperial examinations, and intermarrying with people living on land. They have thus lived in such a unique way since then, with the water borne wedding ceremony being one typical aspect of their life styles.

    Arts and Crafts in Hangzhou
    Reputed as the "Silk County" in its long history, Hangzhou has various traditional arts and crafts, including the Hangzhou silk, Dujinsheng brocade, West Lake Silk umbrella, Wangxing fan, Zhang Xiaoquan scissors, Xianshan laceworks, and products of official porcelain kiln in imitation of that in the Southern Song Dynasty.

    Famous Traditional Dishes in Hangzhou
    Hangzhou has been called a "land flowing with milk and honey", and has a long history of food culture. The Zhejiang cuisine with its center at Hangzhou is one of the 8 major cuisine in China, famous for its fine cooking, nice color, sweet scent and taste and appealing appearance. The master poet Su Dongpo of the Song dynasty once wrote in praise that "there are no better banquets in the world than those in Hangzhou." Among those famous dishes of Hangzhou  Which are not only delicious but also accompanied with many touching stories, there are Dongpo Meat, West Lake Fish in Vinegar Sauce, Dragon's Well Shrimp Meat, Zhonghua Spring Chicken, Aunt Song's Thick Soup of Fish, Ham Stewed with Honey, West Lake Soup of Water Shield, and so forth.

    Acrobatic Performance
    While enjoying the daytime at the West Lake, visitors will find the night of the West Lake equally beautiful. They can appreciate various stunts of acrobatics and performances of songs and dances with South China features.

  • Celebration Activities
    China International Qiantang River Tide Watching Festival
    The Qiantang Tide is a world wonder, famous for its great momentum and majestic spectacle. The custom of Qiantang tide watching began in the Dynasties of Han and Wei, with a history of more than 2,000 years. In the 15th day of the eighth lunar month every year, hundreds of thousands of visitors would swarm to the banks of the Qiantang River to watch this world wonder-the Qiantang Tide. Yanguan at Haining is the best site for the tide watching. Many people make three viewing of the same tide: watching the "head-on tide" at the Ding Bridge, the "Thread Tide" at Yanguan, and the "Returning Tide" at the Old Yancang. In fact, the Qiantang River has tide everyday, though in the first and the 15th day of the lunar month, when the sun, the moon and the earth lie almost in a straight line, there will be the greatest tides, and thus the time for tide watching in a year is only a little more than 20 days.
    First held in 1994, the China International Qiantang River Tide-Watching Festival has since been held every year, with its main site at the Yanguan Town of the Haining City. The main content of the festival includes a large scale folk dance of Fete to the Tide Deity at the opening ceremony, which consists of performances of Navy Practice, Young Fisher's Tide Surfing, Hard Crossbow Tide Shooting, Respect Paying Ceremony to Tide and the Merry Celebration. The dance displays fully the folk customs of people at both banks of the Qiantang River in tide playing, tide fighting, and tide ceremony. There are also the temple fair in the Haishen Temple, with dragon dance and lion dance, the folk song of Lotus Falling, folk shadow play, Beijing Opera performed by acrobatic teams, folk Huagu Opera, folk play of Dalianxiang, folk vaudeville of Broadsword Dance, and so on. During the festival, the city of Haining will also hold the Xiashi light contest with traditional local features, adding a festival atmosphere to the period.
    A sub-site is at the Tide-Watching city of the Xiaoshan City, with a one-hour large-scale water-borne performance as its main program at the intervals of the Qiantang tide, including parachute jumps with motorboats, water-skating with motorboats, and water-borne motorcycles.

    West Lake Sweet Osmanthus Festival
    Sweet Osmanthus is the city flower of Hangzhou, which, together with Xianning, Suzhou, Guilin, Hefei, has become one of the five sweet osmanthus producing areas. The people of Hangzhou celebrate the West Lake Sweet Osmanthus Festival in autumn when they appreciate the beauty and sweetness of sweet osmanthus. The "Man Long Rain of Sweet Osmanthus" is the main scene of the Sweet Osmanthus Festival. Here more than 7,000 sweet osmanthus grow along the road. During the festival more than 200 colorful awnings tidily extend along the two sides of the road while people appreciate sweet osmanthus over their cups of tea, playing cards or chess in awnings or by trees, enjoying themselves.
    The West Lake Sweet Osmanthus Festival combined the "Sweet Osmanthus Culture" with the "Tea Culture". For its opening ceremony there are large-scale comprehensive art shows and the Dragon's Well green tea ceremony, along with a symposium of the Late Sweet Osmanthus by Yu Dafu, and a party in memory of Premier Zhou Enlai. To make the festival more accessible to visitors, there are tea ceremonies of the 6 major teas in the country, ikebana performance, storytelling of "Hangzhou's People and Hangzhou's Events", bridge, weiqi, chess arena, mini golf, children's games at the Manjue Mount. The West Lake Sweet Osmanthus Festival lasts for a month.

    Hangzhou "Spring in the West Lake" Tourism Festival
    The whole year's work depends on a good start in spring. In the season of spring, when everything begins burgeoning, flowers will turn red and willows green. To make full use of Hangzhou's tourist resourees in the period of the Spring Festival and enhance the tourist programs for the season, Hangzhou will hold the Hangzhou "Spring in the West Lake" Tourism Festival, to display Hangzhou's beautiful scenery, good natural ecological resources and long historical culture, and to attract more visitors to come to Hangzhou for sight-seeing, holiday, and business.

    Main Contents of Hangzhou "Spring in the West Lake" Tourism Festival

Large-scale Famous Flower Display at the Prince Harbor and Flower Harbor Park

March to may

Spring Tea Party (Festival) of “Dragon’s Well Rendezvous”


Spring Tour

March to April

Performance of Sailing Boat, Sailboarding, Racing Boats

March to April

Hangzhou Food Culture Festival

April to May
  • Hangzhou Autumn International Tourism Festival
    "In memories of south China, Hangzhou is the best". Hangzhou is one of the top cities for tourism, famous world-wide for its special scenery, beautiful natural ecological conditions and rich tourist resources. The Hangzhou Autumn International Tourism Festival is a large-scale comprehensive celebration consisting of tourism, culture, trade, sports, with international, economic features, participated by both city residents and Chinese and foreign visitors. The festival will further display Hangzhou's beautiful scenery, long historical culture, and new achievements since China's reform and opening up. The world will know more about Hangzhou and Hangzhou will join the world increasingly.
    Main Contents of Hangzhou Autumn International Tourism Festival

Qiantang Tide Watching Festival August 17 to 19. lunar calendar
Mid-Autumn Evening Party of “Bright West Lake Moon” August 15 to 16. lunar calendar
West Lake Sweet Osmanthus Festival September
West Lake International Firework Festival October
Large-scale “West Lake Love” Collective Wedding Ceremony on the Lake October
West Lake Pleasant Boat Festival October
Hangzhou Food Week October

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  Information provided by China National Tourism Administration.

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