Geography and climate

Hangzhou is located in northern Zhejiang province, eastern China, at the southern end of the Grand Canal of China, on the plain of the mid-lower reaches of the Yangtze River (Cháng Jiāng). The prefecture-level region of Hangzhou extends west to the border with the hilly-country Anhui Province, and east to the flat-land near Hangzhou Bay. The city center is built around the eastern and northern sides of the West Lake, just north of the Qiantang River.

Hangzhou's climate is Humid Subtropical (Koppen classification Cfa) with four distinctive seasons, characterised by long, very hot, humid summers and short, cool to cold, cloudy and dry winters (with occasional snow). The average annual temperature in Hangzhou is 16.2°C. Hangzhou receives an average annual rainfall of 1450 mm. Hangzhou is affected by the Plum Rains of the Asian Monsoon in June. In late summer (August to September), Hangzhou, along with other cities in Zhejiang province, suffer typhoon storms, but typhoons seldom strike it directly. Generally they make land along the southern coast of Zhejiang, and affect Hangzhou with strong winds and stormy rains.[5]

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg high °C (°F) 8 (46) 10 (50) 14 (57) 20 (68) 26 (79) 29 (84) 33 (91) 32 (90) 28 (82) 23 (73) 17 (63) 11 (52)
Avg low temperature °C (°F) 2 (37) 3 (37) 7 (47) 12 (54) 17 (67) 22 (72) 25 (77) 25 (77) 21 (70) 15 (59) 9 (48) 4 (39)
Source: MSN Weather

[edit] Administrative Divisions

Hangzhou Region or prefecture-level city contains the Hangzhou metropolitan area (eight districts), 3 metropolitan counties, and 2 ordinary counties. The central six urban districts occupy 682 km² (263.4 mi²) and have 1,910,000 people. The two suburban districts occupy 2,642 km² (1020 mi²) and have 1,950,000 people.

It has direct jurisdiction over 8 districts (区 qu), 3 county-level cities (市 shi) and 2 Counties (县 xian):

Hangzhou City Proper
Gongshu-qu 拱墅区
Shangcheng-qu 上城区
Xiacheng-qu 下城区
Jianggan-qu 江干区
Xihu-qu 西湖区
Hangzhou Suburban and Rural
Binjiang-qu 滨江区
Yuhang-qu 余杭区
Xiaoshan-qu 萧山区
Lin'an-shi 临安市
Fuyang-shi 富阳市
Jiande-shi 建德市
Lutong-xian 桐庐县
Chun'an-xian 淳安县

[edit] Economy

Hangzhou's economy has rapidly developed since its opening up in 1992. It is an industrial city with many diverse sectors such as in light industry, agriculture, textile, It is also considered a important manufacturing base and logistics hub for coastal China.[6]

In 2001, the GDP of the whole city amounts to RMB 156.8 billion which ranks the second among all of the provincial capitals except for Guangzhou. The city has tripled GDP and Per capita GDP in the last seven years, with GDP increasing from RMB ¥156.8 billion in 2001 to RMB ¥478.1 billion in 2008 and GDP per capita increasing from USD 3,025 to USD 10,199.[6]

The city has developed many new industries since, they include medicine, information technology, heavy equipment, automotive components, household electrical appliances, electronics, telecommunication, fine chemicals, chemical fibre and food processing. [7]

[edit] Tourism

Hu Xueyan Residence, a historic mansion in Hangzhou
Hangzhou pagoda bridge

Hangzhou is renowned for its historic relics and natural beauty. It is often known as one of the most beautiful cities in China. It has been ranked as one of the ten most scenic cities in China.[8] Although Hangzhou has been through many recent urban developments, it still retains its historical and cultural heritage. Today, tourism remains an important factor for Hangzhou's economy.[9] One of Hangzhou's most popular sights is West Lake. The lake itself covers an area of 6 square kilometres and includes some of Hangzhou's most famous historic and scenic places. Adjacent to the lake is a scenic area covering over 50 square kilometres. The area includes historical pagodas, cultural sites, as well as the natural beauty of the lake and hills. There are two causeways across the lake.[8]

Scenic places near West Lake:

  • Jingci Temple (净慈寺) is located just south of West Lake.
  • Lingyin Temple (灵隐寺 "Soul's Retreat") is located about 2km west of West Lake. This is believed to be the oldest Buddhist temple in the city, which has gone through numerous destruction and reconstruction cycles.
  • Baochu Pagoda (保俶塔) is located just north of West Lake on top of Precious Stone Hill (宝石山)
  • Yue-Wang Temple (岳王庙, "King Yue's Temple") or Yue Fei Miao is on the north west shore of West Lake and was originally constructed in 1221 in memory of General Yue Fei, who lost his life due to political persecution.
  • Leifeng Pagoda

Other places of interest:

[edit] Culture

The native residents of Hangzhou, like those of Zhejiang and southern Jiangsu, speak a Wu dialect. However, the Wu dialect varies throughout the area where it is spoken, hence, Hangzhou's dialect differs from regions in southern Zhejiang and southern Jiangsu. In addition, Mandarin is also spoken.

Tea is an important part of Hangzhou's economy and culture. Hangzhou is best known for originating Longjing, a famous variety of green tea. Furthermore, there are many types of Longjing tea, the most famous being Xi Hu Long Jing. Known as the best type of Long Jing tea, Xi Hu Long Jing is grown near Xi Hu in Hangzhou, hence its name.[10]

Further, Hangzhou is known for its artistic creations, such as silk, umbrellas, and Chinese hand-held folding fans.

Hangzhou cuisine is the representative of Zhejiang Cuisine, one of China’s eight cuisines. And it wins reputation for freshness, tenderness, softness, smoothness of its dishes with mellow fragrance. A great poet of Song Dynasty once praised it as follows: there’s no food that can compare with the Hangzhou cuisine.

Famous dishes like West Lake Sour Fish, Dongpo Pork, Longjing Shrimp Meat, Jiaohua Young Chickens, Steam Rice Flower and Pork Wrapped by Lotus Leaves, Braised Bamboo Shoots and Lotus Root Powder are widely known and popular among both local people and tourists.

[edit] Transportation

Bars and Shops alongside the street of Hangzhou.
Luohan Tang (Arhat Hall) at Hupaoquan in Hangzhou, China
Qiantang River Bridge

Hangzhou is serviced by the Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport, which has direct flights to Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Singapore, regional routes to Hong Kong and Macau, as well as numerous domestic routes. Located just outside of the city in the Xiaoshan District, it is one of the major secondary international airports in China.

Hangzhou Railway Station (colloquially the "City Station" 城站) serves the city centre with direct trains departing for Shanghai, (journey time now 1hr18, 55 yuan) and most other major cities in China. The significantly less modern Hangzhou East Railway Station (colloquially "East Station" 东站) has many through trains and local trains, though few terminating or departing.

Trains leaving Hangzhou reach more than 20 cities directly, including Beijing (北京) (1650 km), Shanghai (上海) (200 km), and Xi'an (西安) (1550 km).

The construction of the Shanghai-Hangzhou Maglev Train Line has been debated for several years, and on 18 August 2008 Beijing Authorities gave the project the go-ahead, to start construction in 2010. Transrapid has been contracted to construct the line.

North, east, south and west long-distance bus stations offer regular large and small coach services to towns within Zhejiang province and surrounding provinces.

Public transport within Hangzhou city is primarily in the form of an extensive public bus and trolleybus network. As with many Chinese cities, bicycles and electric scooters are also very popular, with the city having dedicated bike lanes on most major roads and an extensive public bike rental system. Taxis are also very common. With its line of the newest Hyundai Elantras and Volkswagen Passats, and tight regulations (compulsory A/C, handicap service, lake-blue appearance etc.), the city's taxi service is rated amongst the top in the country. The subway system is currently under construction, and it will have 8 metro lines which will constitute the whole city's metro network. The completion of the first two lines is expected in 2011 or 2012.

[edit] Colleges, universities and high schools

See also List of universities in the People's Republic of China

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