Suzhou, Soochow, or Wuxian, city (1994 pop. 710,900), SE Jiangsu prov., E central China, on the Grand Canal near Tai Lake. Suzhou, famous for its silks since the Sung dynasty, is still a silk center; it also has cotton and embroidery manufactures and food-processing, pharmaceutical, and computer and electronics industries. On the city's outskirts are a small integrated steel complex and plants making chemicals, paper, machine tools, and motor vehicles.

Suzhou was capital of the Wu kingdom in the 5th cent. B.C., from whence it derives the name Wuxian; it was renamed Suzhou in the 6th cent. A.D. The city was almost destroyed in the Taiping Rebellion but was quickly rebuilt. In 1896, it became a treaty port. It was occupied by the Japanese in World War II, and in 1949 it passed to the Chinese Communists. Suzhou is famous for its beauty, with many canals crossed by arched bridges and lovely gardens. A nine-storied pagoda there (c.250 ft/80 m high) is among the tallest in China. The city has several institutions of higher learning; the Suzhou Museum was designed by I. M. Pei.

Suzhou (ancient name: ) is a city on the lower reaches of the Yangtze River and on the shores of Lake Taihu in the province of Jiangsu, China. The city is renowned for its beautiful stone bridges, pagodas, and meticulously designed gardens which have contributed to its status as a great tourist attraction. Since the Song Dynasty (960-1279), Suzhou has also been an important centre for China's silk industry and continues to hold that prominent position today. The city is part of the Yangtze River Delta region. The GDP per capita was 元79,406 (ca. US$10,087) in 2006, ranked no. 5 among 659 Chinese cities.


Suzhou, the cradle of Wu culture, is one of the oldest towns in the Yangtze Basin. 2500 years ago in the late Shang Dynasty, local tribes who named themselves "Gou Wu" lived in the area which would become the modern city of Suzhou.

In 514 BC, during the Spring and Autumn Period, King Helu (闔閭/阖闾) of Wu established "Great City of Helu", the ancient name for Suzhou, as his capital. In 496 BC, Helu was buried in Huqiu (Tiger Hill 虎丘).

In 473 BC Wu was defeated by Yue, a kingdom to the east which was soon annexed by the Chu in 306 BC. The golden era of Suzhou ended with this conquest. Remnants of this culture include remainders of a 2,500 year old city wall and the gate through it at Pan Gate.

By the time of the Qin Dynasty, the city was known as Wu County. Xiang Yu (项羽) staged his historical uprising here in 209 BC, which contributed to the overthrow of Qin.

During the Sui Dynasty - in 589 AD - the city was renamed Suzhou.

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 south-eastern coast of China.

During the Tang Dynasty (825 AD), the great poet Bai Juyi (白居易) constructed the Shantang Canal (called "Shantang Street" or 山塘街) to connect the city with Huqiu for tourists. In 1035 AD, the temple of Confucius was founded by famed poet and writer Fan Zhongyan (范仲淹). It became the venue for imperial civil examinations.

In February 1130, the advancing Jin army from the north ransacked and massacred the city. This was followed by the Mongol invasion (1275) and destruction of the royal city (in the centre of the walled city) in the beginning of the Ming Dynasty (1367).

Thereafter, the city had a more prosperous time. Many of the famous private gardens were constructed by the gentry of the Ming and Qing dynasties. However, the city was to see another disaster in 1860 when Taiping soldiers advanced on and captured the city. In November 1863 the Ever Victorious Army of Charles Gordon recaptured the city from the Taiping forces.

The next crisis that met the city was the Japanese invasion in 1937. Many gardens were devastated by the end of the war. In the early 1950s, restoration was done on gardens such as Zhuo-Zheng Yuan (Humble Administrator's Garden) and Dong Yuan (East Garden) to bring them back to life.

In 1981, this ancient city was listed by the State Council as one of the four cities (the other three being Beijing, Hangzhou and Guilin) where the protection of historical and cultural heritage as well as natural scenery should be treated as a priority project. Since then, with suburban economic projects, Suzhou has developed into one of the most prosperous cities in China.

Classical gardens in Suzhou were added to the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997 and 2000. It is possible to make a virtual tour at the UNESCO site in panorama through the wonderful Classical Gardens of Suzhou.

Districts and satellite cities

Because Suzhou is one of the most prosperous cities in China, its development has a direct correlation with the growth of its satellite cities, most notably Kunshan, Taicang, Mudu, and Zhangjiagang, which together form the greater Suzhou region. Suzhou's jurisdictional areas are home to many high-tech development enterprises.

Suzhou has jurisdiction over (at county level):




Suzhou is conveniently located on the Jinghu Railway linking Shanghai and Nanjing, the provincial capital, to both of which there is hourly railway service. Suzhou Railway Station is among the busiest passenger stations in China, having 139 trains stopping daily. T-Trains only take 45 minutes to Shanghai and an hour and half to Nanjing. Driving options include the Jiangsu-Shanghai Expressway, the Yangtze Riverine Expressway, the Suzhou-Jiaxing-Hangzhou Expressway. In 2005, the new Suzhou Outer Ring was completed, linking the peripheral county-level cities of Taicang, Kunshan, and Changshu. By water, Suzhou is connected with Zhangjiagang, Luzhi, Liujia and Changshou.

Although Wuxi Shuofang Airport and Guangfu United Airlines Airport serve as two municipal airports, and the State Council approved of the construction of an airport exclusively serving Suzhou in 2003, air transportation from Suzhou continues to be at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport in Shanghai.

The Suzhou Metro is currently being constructed.


Notable people


"A very great and noble city... It has 1600 stone bridges under which a galley may pass." - Marco Polo

"Capital of Silk", "Land of Abundance", "Gusu city", "Cradle of the Wu Culture", and "World of Gardens", "Oriental Venice or Venice of the East"- nicknames of Suzhou

"Paradise above, Suzhou and Hangzhou below." - Chinese saying

"Born in Suzhou, live in Hangzhou, eat in Guangzhou, and die in Liuzhou." - Chinese saying.
"Beautiful or not beautiful, nothing is more beautiful than the waters of Taihu. Related or not related, we are all the people of the same village." - Chinese saying


Public institutions having full-time Bachelor's degree programs include:

Postgraduate Institution

Private Schools

Sister cities

Suzhou (including 7 districts and 5 county-level cities under Suzhou's jurisdiction) has more than 50 sister cities, twin towns and provinces:
Venice Italy
Victoria, British Columbia Canada
Ikeda, Osaka Japan
Kanazawa, Ishikawa Japan
Portland, Oregon USA
Tulcea County Romania
Jeonju Republic of Korea
Kameoka, Kyoto Japan
Riga Latvia
Ismaïlia Egypt
Grenoble France
Nijmegen Netherlands
Esbjerg Denmark
Konstanz Germany
Taupo New Zealand
Nabari, Mie Japan
Porto Alegre Brazil
Jacksonville, Florida USA
Riihimäki Finland
Taebaek South Korea
Nowy Sącz Poland
Kiev Ukraine
Zaporizhia Ukraine
Logan, Queensland Australia
Antananarivo Madagascar
Santiago del Estero Province Argentina
Viña del Mar Chile
Yeongju South Korea
Daisen, Tottori Japan
Riesa Germany
Rotorua New Zealand
Santa Luċija Malta
Hirokawa, Fukuoka Japan
Portland, Victoria Australia
Eiheiji, Fukui Japan
Marugame, Kagawa Japan
Ayabe, Kyoto Japan
Sendai, Kagoshima Japan
Townsville, Queensland Australia
Whittier, California USA
Brest France
South El Monte, California, USA
Grootfontein Namibia
Tahara, Aichi Japan
Tottori, Tottori Japan
Rosolina, Italy
Uchinada, Ishikawa Japan
Bourgoin-Jallieu France
Dubbo, New South Wales Australia
Chiba, Chiba Japan
Hwaseong, Gyeonggi South Korea
Nago, Okinawa Japan

See also


External links

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