The area to the south of Hangzhou Bay is the site of excavation of the Neolithic Hemudu culture, dating back to around 4500 BC. Hangzhou's recorded history begins with the Qin dynasty (221-207 BC). During the Sui dynasty (581-618 AD), major construction was carried out on the Grand Canal, which was eventually to link Hangzhou with Beijing via a 1,600km (1,000 mile) waterway, forming one of the city's most important economic arteries.
During the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907-960 AD), the city, then known as Xifu, was the capital of the Wuyue Kingdom from 907 to 978, which established its place as one of the three great cultural centers of southern China.
After the Song dynasty was overthrown by Jurchen invaders from outside China, the Song court fled south and established Hangzhou (then known as Lin'an) as the imperial capital of the Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279), making it the center of political, cultural and economic life in southern China.
Under the Yuan dynasty, political power was centralized in Beijing, but the cultural and economic importance of Hangzhou was undimmed. Marco Polo (1254-1324) visited the city several times and wrote extensively about it, making the now-famous remark that it was "without doubt the finest and noblest city in the world".
The city's importance as a port, established very early, continued until the harbor silted up during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The Taiping Rebellion in the mid-19th century was a disaster for Hangzhou: Taiping forces captured the city, and the bitter fighting to re-take it destroyed most of Hangzhou.
After the fall of imperial China, Hangzhou was ruled by the Kuomintang under Chiang Kai-Shek until 1949 when the Communist party finally took control of the city. Since the opening up of China to the west in the 1980s, the boom in the Yangtze delta has catapulted Hangzhou into the top rank of China's economically important cities, and made it a leading manufacturer of machinery, electronics, information technology, medicine, chemicals, textiles & apparel and food & beverage processing.
Arguably, antibiotics were 20th century medicine’s crowning glory. But today, they are becoming increasingly ineffective in human medicine. So much so in fact that America’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) lists antibiotic resistance among its “top concerns.”
Just visiting Hangzhou or are you a newbie trying to get the lay of the land? Take a peek at the best bars and clubs in our guide to nightlife in the city.
Shakespeare favourite ‘Hamlet’ is coming to China with TNT Britain, and stopping by Hangzhou on December 16 and December 17. The play questions morals, revenge, justice, traditions and beliefs, and is not to be missed, especially if you haven’t seen it before.
This week, Hangzhou’s International Airport has started offering the 72-hour transit visa on arrival. The visa can be obtained by nationals from 51 different countries, including the United States, Russia, Britain, France and Japan.
From September 9, Spring Airlines will launch a new direct route from Hangzhou to Bangkok. The flight will take only 4 hours and will be available three times a week.
Hainan Airlines announced on Wednesday, September 3, the launch of a new route from Hangzhou to Paris via Xi’an.
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