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Suzhou: A Brief Introduction

Suzhou, a city in eastern China's Jiangsu Province, is considered as beautiful as the paradise. A major tourist city, it features classic gardens and elegant  natural scenery. 

Location: It is situated by the Taihu Lake in the southern part of Jiangsu Province, in the Yangtze River Delta. With Shanghai to its east and Zhejiang Province to its south, Suzhou has a well-developed communication network and can be easily reached from all parts of China.

Geographic Features: Of the 8,488 square  kilometers of territory under the city's jurisdiction,  about 10 percent is cultivated farmland; 30 percent is hilly land, and the rest is covered by waters or low terrains. Its average altitude is 4 meters above sea level. The city is famed as the Oriental Venice because it is a water city with numerous rivers, lakes and canals, such as the Yangtze River, Yangcheng Lake, Chenghu Lake and the Grand Canal. Major hills in the area include Lingyan, Tianping, Tiger (Huqiu) and Yushan.

Population: It has a population of 5.71 million, including the various ethnic groups of Han, Hui, and Manchu, 1.05 million of the people living in urban areas.

It was established as a settlement in 514 B.C., known as Gusu; in 581 during the Sui Dynasty, it was renamed Suzhou.

Climate: On the north edge of the subtropical zone, Suzhou has monsoon maritime climate, with mildly cold winter and humid summer. Its annual average temperature is 15.7°C.

Local Highlights:
Besides classic gardens, Suzhou is also famous for Kunqu Opera and Pingtan (ballad-singing in Suzhou dialect). Among the local products, there are silk; handicrafts such as embroidery, fans, traditional Chinese musical instruments, lanterns, furniture, jade carving, silk tapestry, traditional painting pigments, New Year pictures of wood-block prints, etc; and big-gate crabs from Yangcheng Lake.

(China.org.cn June 23, 2004)

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