Introduction to Suzhou
The ancient city of Suzhou was built in 514 B.C. and is famous as the “Heaven on Earth” of China. Throughout its history of more than 2,500 years, the pattern of the city proper has remained the same, with paralleled rivers and streets and crisscrossed water lanes.
In the history of Suzhou, there have been many famous literati, statesmen, artists, architects, printers, calligraphers and folk craftsmen. Many of these famous people have played decisive roles and exerted great influences throughout the history of China. Because of this, Suzhou has earned the nickname “country of talents.”
Today, Suzhou covers an area of 8,488 square kilometers, of which the city proper covers 1,650 square kilometers. Under the jurisdiction of Suzhou are Zhangjiagang City, Changshu City, Taicang City, Kunshan City, Wujiang City, Wuzhong District, Xiangcheng District, Pingjiang District, Canglang District, Jinchang District, and Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP), Suzhou New District (SND) and Huqiu District.
Major data of the sixth national census released on May 3, 2011 showed that the city’s population had reached a record high of 11.77 million, according to Suzhou’s Bureau of Statistics.
Suzhou is famous for its pingtan (a form of storytelling and ballad singing in the Suzhou dialect), Kunqu (also known as Kun Opera or Kunqu Opera), and Taohuawu woodblock printing. Suzhou has been an important center for China's silk industry since the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Suzhou's distinctive, highly detailed embroidery style developed during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644).
In addition, Suzhou is a paradise for tourists, with a great number of places of interest. Suzhou's traditional landscape gardens are world renowned, and nine of the gardens are on UNESCO's World Heritage List. These include Humble Administrator’s Garden, Lingering Garden, Master of the Nets Garden, Canglang Pavilion, Lion Forest Garden (also called Lion Grove Garden), Garden of Cultivation, Couple's Garden Retreat, Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty, and Retreat and Reflection Garden in Tongli.