Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang Province and one of the seven ancient capitals of China, becoming a notable landmark in the Chinese civilisation. The city itself has been known for centuries as the "Oriental City of Leisure" and widely recognised for its outstanding natural landscape backdrops.
Hangzhou City Centre, with its manicured gardens, alluring temples and tidy streets, looks like a Chinese lithograph and has born witness to eight dynasties. One of its popular attractions is West Lake, a freshwater lake with decoratively designed artificial islands, including the Leifeng Pagoda, which has inspired poets, painters, and landscapers throughout Chinese history and was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2011. Hangzhou City Centre also offers an insight into its extensive merchandising past, with silk production dating back over 1,000 years and mentioned in explorer Marco Polo’s Silk Road journey. China’s National Silk Museum in Hangzhou is home to eight different exhibition halls that tell the enticing story of silk from silkworm and weaving to dyeing and manufacturing. The famous voyager also mentioned the city’s now famous Dragon Tea, known for its healthy, calming effect, which can be bought fresh from its source in nearby Longjing Village. The Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine and adjoining herbal medicine shop offer an in-depth introduction to traditional Chinese medicine and its role in world history.
Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport is 30 kilometres away from the city. Transport from it the airport is efficient, with plenty of airport buses running to downtown Hangzhou. Getting around is easy with ample taxis and local buses available. Another popular mode of travel is water buses that run from both Wulin Gate and West Lake Culture Plaza to Gongchen Bridge.
Hangzhou is said to have originated 4,700 years ago. In the 2nd century BC, during the Qin Dynasty of 221-207 BC. Hangzhou was designated to be a county and grew exponentially from there. In fact, during the 1180-1315 and 1348-1358 periods, Hangzhou was believed to be the largest city in the world.