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Hangzhou, China

Updated on January 14, 2012

Hangzhou is a city in eastern China; the capital of Zhejiang province.

Hangzhou, a commercial center, is noted for the green tea grown in the surrounding area and for the production of silk textiles. Cotton goods and jute and paper products are also manufactured in Hangzhou. Railroads and highways link the city with other parts of China. Hangzhou is the southern terminus of the Grand Canal, the longest canal in China. As a tourist resort, Hangzhou is famous for the scenic beauty of nearby West Lake, which is known as the Eye of Heaven.

Hangzhou has been celebrated by poets since the 7th century A.D. Known as Linan and Kinsai, the city was the capital of the Sung emperors of southern China in the 12th and 13th centuries. The beauty of the city and its setting dazzled Marco Polo, who visited there late in the 13th century. At the time the city had more than 1,000,000 inhabitants and was a major center of Chinese culture. Much of Hangzhou was destroyed in 1861 during the Taiping Rebellion, a revolt against the Manchu emperor, but the city was later rebuilt. Hangzhou was occupied by the Japanese from 1937 to 1945. It came under the control of the Chinese Communists in May 1949.

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