CHINA  |  Hangzhou, China Travel Guide
Sunday, February 23, 2020
1 Of 4

A Brief History of Hangzhou

A Brief History of Hangzhou

The completion of the Grand Canal, with Hangzhou as its southern terminus in 609 AD, first marked the city on the map, but it wasn’t until the Song dynasty was ejected from Kaifeng and relocated here that Hangzhou really started to blossom. As the capital of the Southern Song (1126-1279) dynasty, Hangzhou attracted merchants, artisans, poets and artists and its silk trade started in earnest. By the time of Marco Polo’s supposed visit in the 13th century, the city had a population of a million. Although there is some doubt as to whether Marco Polo actually ever made it to China, his description of Hangzhou sounds accurate and he cites the city as the most opulent in the world!With the fall of the Song some of this splendor was lost, but Hangzhou remained a strategic trading post for silk. It enjoyed revived imperial patronage under the Qing, although the Taiping Uprising destroyed most of the city.

These days, as the provincial capital of Zhejiang, Hangzhou thrives upon its reputation as the most romantic city in the country and is a prime weekend getaway destination. But silk and tea are also cornerstones of both tourism and the city’s economy, along with more modern industries such as electronics and pharmaceuticals. However, Hangzhou is still part of China and the bright lights have attracted a wave of rural migrants, many of whom end up begging on the streets. If Marco Polo were to visit Hangzhou again he’d see the merchant boats replaced by Ferrari and Porsche showrooms, but he might be surprised by the abject poverty that exists side-by-side with this ostentatious wealth and lakeside beauty.

Last updated October 16, 2008
Posted in   China  |  Hangzhou
No votes yet
Explore the Destination
Amenities and Resources
  • Map
  • Weather Forecast
  • No significant clouds, mist
    • Reported on:
      Sun, 02/23/2020 - 14:30
    No significant clouds, mist Temperature: 9 °C
Trending Themes:

Guides to Popular Ski Resorts

  • Ischgl is a small mountain village turned hip ski resort, with massive appeal among the party-hearty young crowds. It is... Read More

  • Andorra la Vella is its own little world, and not just because it’s a 290-square-mile independent principality (a fifth the... Read More

  • Bariloche (officially San Carlos de Bariloche) is the place to be seen. It is to Argentina what Aspen is to the... Read More

  • Aspen is America's most famous ski resort. And that's an understatement. For, as a ski complex, Aspen is unsurpassed. Its... Read More

  • Zermatt is a small but glamorous mountain resort town, with a population of approximately 5,700. It is one of Switzerland's... Read More

  • St. Moritz is a glitzy, alpine resort town in the celebrated Engadin Valley of Switzerland, with huge notoriety as the... Read More

  • Lake Tahoe is the premier lake resort of America, and the largest alpine lake in all of North America. It is an absolutely... Read More

  • St. Anton, Sankt Anton am Arlberg in German, is Austria's premier ski-bum resort! It's actually a small village cum... Read More

  • Kitzbühel, a small, Tyrolian resort town in the Kitzbüheler Alps, comes with international renown and huge snob appeal, and... Read More


Copyright © 2010-2013 Indian Chief Travel Guides. Images tagged as (cc) are licensed under the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license.