Hangzhou, Republic of China

Home to the beautiful West Lake and Longjing Tea
Chinese Name: 杭州市
Area (City): 8,000 square km
Area (Metro): 34,585 square km
Population: 9.806 million
Coordinates: 30°15′N 120°10′E
January Average Temperature: 4.6°C (40.3°F)
July Average Temperature: 28.9°C (84°F)
Average Elevation: 14 meters
Phone Area Code: 571
Postal Code: 310000
Time Zone: CST (UTC+8)
Website: www.hangzhou.gov.cn


Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang province and one of China’s main tourist cities. Hangzhou is also the final destination of the Grand Canal waterway of olden days which starts from Beijing. West Lake is integrated with Hangzhou’s name, and this beautiful piece of the natural and manmade mixture has been known and loved by many Chinese artists and poets since more than a thousand years ago. It’s a complex of islands, pavilions, bridges, gardens and of course, temples.

Hangzhou is known for its green tea, Longjing or Dragon Well tea. This tea has been ranked as the best among all other Chinese teas.

Top Attractions in Hangzhou

  • West Lake
  • Yue Fei Temple
  • Liuhe Pagoda
  • Leifeng Pagoda
  • Baochu Pagoda
  • Lingyin Temple and Feilai Feng Grottoes
  • Longjing Tea Village
  • China National Silk Museum
  • Wuzhen Water Village
  • Qinghefang Ancient Street
  • Hupao Spring (Dreaming of the Tiger Spring)


General information about Hangzhou

Hangzhou is famed for the natural beauty and historical sites it has inside. Being the capital of Zhejiang province, it acts as the political, cultural and economic center as the province too. Hangzhou’s weather in summer (early June to early September) can be exceedingly humid.

Hangzhou was the Southern Song Dynasty’s capital starting in 1127 until the Mongol invasion of China in 1276. It has been said that the city had approximately one million residents by the time the Mongols attacked. These many people have made Hangzhou as one of the most populated cities of the world back then.

Marco Polo has also said that he has seen Hangzhou and called it definitely the finest and noblest in the world. Hangzhou’s famous West Lake is has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site since June 2011.

Hangzhou has lost a major of its trade and industry to Shanghai because of its harbor slow silting. Nevertheless, Hangzhou still has 8.7 million residents and is among the top Chinese tourist destinations.

hangzhou - China Tour




Situated in Zhejiang province northwestern parts, Hangzhou is at the southern end of China’s Grand Canal. This canal starts in Beijing and is the oldest and longest artificial river in the world. The jurisdiction of Hangzhou continues west to the mountainous parts of Anhui province, and on the east side, it reaches the coastal plain close to Hangzhou Bay. The city center has evolved around West Lake eastern and northern sides, and to the south, it reaches the Qiantang River.

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Hangzhou sub-provincial city is made up of 10 districts, one county-level city, and two counties.

The urban districts of Hangzhou are 8,292.31 square kilometers (3,201.68 square miles) and have 8,241,000 people residing in them among which, six are central urban districts, and four are suburban districts.

A significant number of this population, 3,780,000 people, reside in the central urban districts occupy 706.27 square kilometers (272.69 square miles) and the rest 4,461,000 live in the suburban districts which hold 7,586.04 square kilometers (2,928.99 square miles).

Hangzhou Attractions - China Tour


Hangzhou’s weather is very similar to that of Shanghai, but just a little wetter. The winters in Hangzhou are mostly damp, and the temperatures range between 2°C (33°F) to 9°C (49°F). Snowfall is not that common, and even when it snows, most of the time, it does not stay on the ground more than a couple of hours.

On very rare occasions, there are massive snowstorms, and when that happens, because people are not used to it, the city can get into a bit of a problem, and it may lead to public transportation stop working.  Cold seasons are not a common occurring in Hangzhou, and the lowest recorded temperature is -9.6°C (14.7°F).

Hangzhou, during the summer, like other South Asian cities, is very hot and humid and experiences continuous rainfalls and thunderstorm. The temperature typically goes up to 34°C (93°F), which is not much hot but the humidity of the weather, makes it feel much more than it truly is. There are also no signs of wind and breeze from the ocean, and if they reach the city, they would go through the buildings and make not much of a difference.

Hangzhou - China Attractions

The highest recorded temperature in Hangzhou is 42.1°C (108°F), but heatwaves are not a regular occurrence here. There are times that by tropical cyclones, may affect Hangzhou, but they are mostly indirect.

Based on its climate, the best time of the year to visit Hangzhou and the other large cities with the same climate such as Shanghai and Suzhou is spring, especially early and mid-spring when there is not much rain, and the temperatures are pleasant.


History of Hangzhou

Hangzhou is among the old cities of China a central point for Chinese civilization. Hangzhou has a history that dates back to 200 BC and establishment of the county administration during the reign of the Qin Dynasty.

There have been proofs that since 5,000 years ago, there were signs of people living in the area that now Hangzhou stands. These people created the Liangzhu Culture that is also known as the dawn of civilization there. In 2007, some archaeological efforts led to the discovery of Liangzhu ancient city ruin. This discovery put the earliest recorded of Hangzhou civilization further back in history.

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Hangzhou used to be called Qiantang during ancient times. In the ninth year of Sui Dynasty Kaihuang (589), in order to replace the original Qiantang County, Hangzhou was founded, and it was the first time in history that the name Hangzhou was recorded.

There have been seven ancient cities in China which carried the title of the capital and Hangzhou is among this selection of ancient cities. Hangzhou has been the capital of the Wuyue Kingdom from 907 to 978 during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (It was called Xifu then) and also the capital for the Southern Song Dynasty.

In 1129, Southern Song Dynasty Emperor Gaozong moved toward the south to Hangzhou and changed the city to Lin’an prefecture city, and the city’s name remained the same until 1276 and the Mongol invasion. Lin’an officially was the capital for more than 140 years.

Hangzhou Tour - West Lake

In 1276, three years before the Southern Song Dynasty final collapse, Kublai Khan and his advancing Mongol army sieged and captured Hangzhou. The new Yuan Dynasty chose the city of Dadu (current Beijing) as their capital, but Hangzhou continued to be an essential center for trade and administrative for their southern lands in mainland China.

The Venetian merchant and also world-famous traveler, Marco Polo, has visited Hangzhou during the late 13th century and has written that Hangzhou was “greater than any in the world” in his book. He has also written “the number and wealth of the merchants, and the amount of goods that passed through their hands, was so enormous that no man could form a just estimate thereof.”

Ibn Battuta, the Moroccan world traveler, has also visited Hangzhou during the 14th century, has written: “the biggest city I have ever seen on the face of the earth.”

West Lake - Hangzhou Attractions

The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom captured Hangzhou and did considerable damage to the city in 1856 and 1860.

In 1912, during the first year of the Republic of China, the original Qiantang County and Renhe County were merged into Hangzhou County. In 1927, during the 16th year of the Republic of China, Hangzhou was founded as a city by dismantling of Hangzhou County. Between 1928 and 1949, Hangzhou was under the rule of the Republic of China government under the Kuomintang.

In 1949, on the 3rd of May, the People’s Liberation Army reached Hangzhou, and the Communist took control over the city. Deng Xiaoping’s reformist policies started in 1978, and soon after that, Hangzhou found the opportunity to better its development by taking advantage of being in the Yangtze River Delta. Today, Hangzhou is among the most prosperous metropolitans of China.


People of Hangzhou


Hangzhou’s population (including Xiaoshan and Yuhang, cities under its administration) was 5,162,039 at the 2010 census which showed a 4.8% increase per year since the 2000 census. Hangzhou’s urban area population ranges from 6,658,000 to 6,820,000 according to the most recent estimates.


Based on the estimation done by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) in 2010, Hangzhou metropolitan area had a population of 13.4 million, but there are also other sources which have estimated it to be over 21 million. The metropolitan area Hangzhou has three other major cities of Shaoxing, Jiaxing and Huzhou in itself.

Religious Beliefs

Chinese Religions

Like most parts of mainland China, Hangzhou has many followers of Buddhism, Taoism and traditional Chinese folk religion. There are many temples and pagodas in Hangzhou for these religions, including Lingyin Temple and its next-door neighbor Feilai Feng grottoes.



It’s been said that since the beginning of the Silk Road, there have been Jewish people traveling to China. In in the late 13th and early 17th centuries, Hangzhou was a focal point for Chinese Jewry and has been the origin of the famed Chinese Jewish community, the Kaifeng.

In the past, there were synagogues in Ningbo and Hangzhou, but today there are no visible traces and the Kaifeng Jewish community is all that remains of them.


Hangzhou was the place where two of the Three Pillars of Chinese Catholicism came from. Zhejiang Province is also known as “China’s bible belt”, and China’s largest authorized church with a capacity of 5,000 is located in Hangzhou.

There have been reports of Christians’ persecution in the early 21st century in Hangzhou, closely related to the establishment of China’s atheist government.


During the reign of the Qing dynasty in 1848, Hangzhou had some mosques with Arabic inscriptions and was also described as the “stronghold” of Islam in the country. Among the mosques, two are worthy mentions which are the Great Mosque of Hangzhou and the Phoenix Mosque.



Hangzhou’s native residents, like people from Zhejiang and southern Jiangsu, speak a Wu dialect which is named Hangzhou dialect. Wu dialect of Chinese differs in the areas where it is used, so Hangzhou dialect is also different from southern Zhejiang and southern Jiangsu regions. However, as China’s central government has defined, the official language is Mandarin, and it is also the most used one.


West Lake

Hangzhou is a beautiful city with a lot to offer but if it’s tranquility you’re looking for, then the West Lake is indeed the right choice. West Lake is a freshwater lake and is divided into five sections by three causeways.

Around the lake you can find beautiful temples, attractive pagodas, and Chinese gardens. The lake has four small island within itself which three of them are artificial and man-made.

The lake is also listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO which makes you certain you are going to visit a place that is considered valuable by different people from all over the world.



Longjing Tea

Green tea has many types, and one of its best types in China is Longjing Tea or Dragon Well Tea. This tea is grown in the area surrounding West Lake in Hangzhou for more than 1,200 years.

Because of its sweet flavour and overpowering scent it has earned the names “Green Queen” and “Golden Card”.  The villagers grow Longjing Tea in the fertile lands of the village. The reason the grounds are so lush here lies in the lovely climate of the area and the high mountain located around.




Lingyin Temple and Feilai Feng Grottoes

Lingyin Temple is part of the Chan sect of the Chinese school of Mahayana Buddhism. It is one the largest among other temples in the Wulin Mountains. It also has many grottos, and religious rock carvings and the most known one is the Feilai Feng (the peak that flew hither).


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