|Name||浙江 (zhè jiāng) ['Qiantang River' 'river'] Old Name Chekiang WG|
|Population||55.03 million (4.00 %) [10th] comparison table|
|Area||102,000 km2 [39,382 mile2] (1.06 %) [25th]|
|GDP||72,967 (16.05 %) [7th]|
Zhejiang province looks both north to the Yangzi and south-east to the sea. Mountains divide warm coastal Zhejiang from the northern plains. Although one of the smaller provinces by area it has always been prosperous due to high agricultural yields. It is one of only a few provinces named after a specific place, ‘Zhe’ is an old name for the Qiantung River ➚ that joins the Fuchun River and flows through Hangzhou. The Qiantung has another claim to fame, it has the largest tidal bore ➚ in the world. The proof that Zhejiang has been inhabited for at least 8,000 years ago is shown by archeological finds unearthed at Kuahuqiao ➚.
The Mausoleum of Yu The Great ➚ of the ancient Xia dynasty is located at Shaoxing south-east of Hangzhou. After the break-up of the Zhou dynasty, Zhejiang was split between the Wu (north) and Yue (south) kingdoms. It became a vassal state of China in the Qin unification. Later, in the Three Kingdoms period Sun Quan ➚ a native of Fuyuan became the King of Wu. The Wu language form of Chinese is still widely spoken within Zhejiang province.
Hangzhou is an ancient and interesting city. It stands at the southern end of the Grand Canal from Beijing which was built in the 7th century and even served as the Chinese capital during the Southern Song dynasty when the north was overrun by the Jin dynasty and then the Mongols. More recently the nearby Qinshan ➚ nuclear power plant was the first to be built using Chinese technology.
The West Lake ➚ at Hangzhou ➚ is a famous tourist spot. The lake covers 1,483 acres [6 sq kms] acres and has woods on all sides. It has three islands at its center, one of which (Yingzhou) contains a lake which itself has an island. Elegant causeways run along the banks. The 'Temple of Inspired Seclusion ➚' reached by the Bai causeway on the north bank has fine views. The Su Causeway is named after the famous Song poet Su Shi who was governor of Hangzhou for a while. On the West bank is the Temple to Yue Fei ➚, an unfairly disgraced General on the Southern Song dynasty. Hangzhou has a notable Botanical Garden with an impressive collection of species of bamboo.
At the Orchid Pavilion ➚ Shaoxing there is an outstanding display of calligraphy. However the city of Shaoxing is best known for its rice wine which is produced in vast quantities. Shaoxing was the capital of the short-lived Yue kingdom ➚ in the Zhou dynasty. The famous modern writer Lu Xun, was born there and it was also the base for the Republican heroine Qiu Jin ➚.
Ningbo ➚ rose to prominence as a sea port in the Tang dynasty and became a treaty port in the 19th century. Chiang Kaishek was brought up nearby; since then it has somewhat lost out to nearby Shanghai. Wenzhou to the South is another ancient sea port that like Ningbo became a treaty port in 1876 mainly for trade in tea - another famous Zhejiang export (noted varieties are Longjing and Huiming ➚Green Tea).
Zhejiang's long rocky coastline and many islands support a large fishing industry. To the north the flat land produces copious crops of rice. The mountains produce a large amount of timber and so has an important paper industry. Notable mountains include Huangyajian Peak ➚; the island peak of Mount Putuo ➚; Mount Tiantai ➚ and Mount Yandang ➚; Beishan Hill and Mount Tianmu ➚. Shangzhou is the home of the much respected, traditional Yueju Opera.
Silk has always been an important industry and Zhejiang produces 30% of China's output. Zhejiang is now a heavily urbanized province with a high population density. It has a warm and rather wet climate, receiving frequent Typhoons in summer from the South China Sea.
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