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Suzhou (Template:Zh-stpw; sometimes seen transliterated as Su-chow, Suchow, or Soochow) is one of the most famous cities in China. The city is renowned for its beautiful stone bridges, pagodas, and meticulously designed gardens; Suzhou has also been an important center for China's silk industry since the Song Dynasty (960-1279), and continues to hold that prominent position today. It lies in the lower reaches of the Yangtze and on the shores of lake Taihu in the province of Jiangsu. It is part of the Golden Triangle region. Suzhou enjoys advantageous geography and excellent land, water and air transportation. The GDP per capita was ¥30470 (ca. US$3680) in 2003, ranked no. 25 among 659 Chinese cities. The crater Suzhou on planet Mars was named after the city.

Location Eastern China, near Shanghai
- Total Area
8,848 km²
- Population
Total population
Urban population
Number in Jiangsu Province
5.78 million
2.05 million
Language Chinese - Wu (Suzhouhua)
City flower Osmanthus
City tree Camphor Tree
Political division Prefecture-level city


Suzhou, the cradle of Wu culture, is one of the oldest towns in the Yangtze Basin. 2500 years ago, local tribes who named themselves "Gou Wu" in the late Shang Dynasty lived in the area which would become Suzhou.

In 514 BC, during the Spring and Autumn Period, King Helu (阖闾) of Wu established "Great City of Helu", the ancient name for Suzhou, as his capital.

In 496 BC, Helu was buried in Huqiu (Tiger Hill).

In 473 BC, Wu was defeated by Yue, another kingdom to the east that was soon annexed by Chu in 306 BC. The golden era of Suzhou was over.

By the time of Qin Dynasty, the city was known as Wu County. Xiang Yu (项羽) staged his historical uprising here in 209 BC; Qin was overthrown.

During Sui Dynasty, the city was renamed Suzhou in 589 AD.

When the Grand Canal was completed, Suzhou found itself placed strategically on a major trading route. In the course of the history of China, it has been a metropolis of industry and commerce in the south-eastern coast of China.

During Tang Dynasty (825 AD), the great poet Bai Juyi (白居易) constructed the Shantang Canal to connect the city with Huqiu for the tourists. In 1035 AD, the Confucius temple was founded.

In February 1130, the advancing Jin army from the north sacked the city and committed a holocaust, which was to be followed by Mongol invasion (1275) and destruction of the royal city (in the centre of the walled city) in the beginning of Ming Dynasty (1367).

File:Humble admin garden suzhou small.jpg
The Humble Administrator's Garden, Suzhou, P.R. China

Afterwards, the city had a more prosperous time; many of the famous private gardens were constructed by the gentiles of Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty. However, the city was to see another disaster in 1860 when Taiping soldiers advanced on and captured the city. In November 1863 the Ever Victorious Army of Charles Gordon recaptured the city from the Taiping forces.

After this, the next crisis was the Japanese invasion (1937). Many gardens were devastated by the end of the war. In the early 1950’s, restoration was done on Zhuo-Zheng Yuan (Humble Administrator's Garden), Dong Yuan (East Garden), and others, to bring them back to life. Consequently, most of the existing gardens reflects the architecture style of Qing Dynasty (1616-1911 AD), albeit many of had a history dating back to Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD).

In 1981, this ancient city was listed by the State Council as one of the four cities (the other three being Beijing, Hangzhou and Guilin) where the protection of historical and cultural heritage as well as natural scenery should be treated as a priority project.

Classical gardens in Suzhou were added to the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997 and 2000.

Districts and Satellite cities

  • Area: 8,488 km² (city proper: 1,650 km²)
  • Population: about 5.91 million (city proper: 2.17 million)

Suzhou has jurisdiction over (at county level):


File:Postcard-like view in the gardens of the Hu Qiu Shan (Suzhou, China).jpg
Postcard-like entrance into one of the gardens in Suzhou



Local Celebrities

Canal in Suzhou


"A very great and noble city... It has 1600 stone bridges under which a galley may pass." - Marco Polo
"Capital of Silk", "Land of Abundance", "Gusu city", "Oriental Venice", "Cradle of the Wu Culture", and "World of Gardens"
- nicknames of Suzhou
"Paradise in Heaven, Suzhou and Hangzhou on earth." - Chinese saying
"Born in Suzhou, live in Hangzhou, eat in Guangzhou, and die in Liuzhou." - Chinese saying

See also

Colleges and Universities


  • Suzhou University (苏州大学)
  • University of Science and Technology of Suzhou (苏州科技学院)

Note: Institutions without full-time bachelor programs are not listed.

External links


de:Suzhou (Jiangsu) es:Suzhou fr:Suzhou id:Suzhou ja:蘇州 nl:Suzhou no:Suzhou pt:Suzhou sv:Suzhou vi:Tô Châu zh:苏州