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Capital of Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou is a well-known tourist city at home and abroad. It lies on the lower reaches of the Qiantang River and is the southern end of the l794-kllometer-long Grand Canal (Beijing-Hangzhou Canal). With an area of 16,596 square kilometers, it embraces six urban districts and seven suburban counties.

Hangzhou is a hub of politics, economy, culture and transportation in Zhejiang Province. It is a major producing area of silk in China, and has more than 1,000 years of tealeaf cultivation. Machinery, textiles and chemical industry are the pillar industries of the city with an annual GDP above RMB7.72 billion. Products with local flavor include Zhang Xiaoquan Scissors, West Lake bamboo chopsticks and silk umbrellas, etc.

Hangzhou is one of the seven ancient capitals in China with a history of 2200 years, and has long been a famous tourist attraction. The widely expressed Chinese proverb -- "in heaven there is paradise and on earth there are Hangzhou and Suzhou" -- combined with the words of Marco Polo who described this place as, :"the most beautiful and magnificent city in the world", all this helps to make Hangzhou one of the biggest tourist attractions in the entire country.

The West Lake provides the idyllic image of Hangzhou that most people leave with. This huge circular fresh water lake, covering 3 km from north to south and 3 km from east to west, is surrounded by hills on three sides and the city on the fourth. Two picture-postcard causeways cross the lake and three islands float in the middle. With its inviting views and outstanding scenery, the West Lake soon became popular with numerous artists, poets and painters seeking inspiration in this little bit of "paradise".

Hangzhou is a city with a rich history and culture. It first made a name in the sixth century, when the Grand Canal opened up and linked the area to other centers of trade such as Suzhou. The Southern Song Dynasty helped to make Hangzhou famous when they moved the capital here in the 12th century.

There are numerous historical relics and sights -- curtilages, garderns, pavilions, temples, towers, springs, grottos, and cliff inscriptions -- scattered throughout Hangzhou. At present, there are more than 60 scenic spots open to the public and over 40 key cultural relics preservation sites, the most famous include Lingyin Temple, Liuhe Tower, Yue Temple, and Hupao Spring (Tiger-Running Spring), etc.

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