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One more beautiful part of the city that can someone see stolling with a boat in the water canals of the city.

Marco Polo was said to have called Suzhou the "Venice of the Orient" because its canals are so reminiscent of Venice, Italy. The poet, Yang Chaoying, who lived during the Yuan Dynasty, said in one of his poems:"In heaven above there is a paradise, on earth there are Suzhou and Hangzhou".

The 2500 year old city old Suzhou is the cradle of "Wu" culture. The name "Wu", oftentimes used to refer to Suzhou, is derived from the local tribes, who called themselves "Gou Wu" during the 11th century BC reign of the Shang Dynasty.

For a few years around 403-221 BC Suzhou was the capital of the state of Wu. In the early sixth century the city flourished as a trading and silk center. To this day, there are numerous silk factories in the area.

During the Ming and Qing dynasties, Suzhou had its most prosperous period. Government officials, scholars, artists, and tradesman became wealthy and some of this wealth was used to create the now famous gardens of Suzhou.

Although traditionally not one of the major stops on most tours by foreigners, it is considered one of the most charming cities in China. Today, it is fast becoming one of the "must see" cities in China.

Suzhou is located almost directly west of Shanghai and can be reached from Shanghai by air or by water by means of the "Da Yunhe" or the "Grand Canal".

Suzhou previously transliterated as Su-chou, Suchow, and Soochow, is a major city located in the southeast of Jiangsu Province in Eastern China, located adjacent to Shanghai Municipality. The city is situated on the lower reaches of the Yangtze River and on the shores of Taihu Lake and is a part of the Yangtze River Delta region. Administratively, Suzhou is a prefecture-level city with an urban population of over 4 million expanding to over 10 million in the administrative area.

Originally founded in 514 BCE, Suzhou has over 2,500 years of rich history, and relics of the past are abundant to this day. The city's canals, stone bridges, pagodas, and meticulously designed gardens have contributed to its status as one of the top tourist attractions in China. Since the Song Dynasty (960-1279), it has also been an important centre for China's silk industry. The classical gardens in Suzhou were added to the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997 and 2000. Suzhou is often dubbed the "Venice of the East" or "Venice of China"

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Additional Photos by Danos kounenis (danos) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 13701 W: 295 N: 27478] (110395)
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