Suzhou, the silk hand embroidery city of
China, is one of the oldest cities in the Yangtze Basin
in China and rich in its natural and man resources.
It has been praised as 'a paradise on Earth' since ancient
time. It grew rapidly as a center of shipping and storage
with the completion of the Grand Canal in 609 AD.
Marco Polo visited Suzhou in 1276, described
it as 'great' and 'noble'. By the 14th century, Suzhou
was China's leading silk producer. The wealthy
inhabitants in this time built many gardens, of which
over 100 survive. Many of them are already listed as
a world cultural heritage by the UNESCO.
The elegant classical gardens, the old-fashioned
houses and delicate bridges hanging over flowing waters
in the drizzling rain, the numerous scenic spots and
historic sites, the exquisite arts and crafts, and the
notably soft dialect have made Suzhou a renowned historic
and cultural city full of poetic charm.
Famous local handicrafts include silk hand
embroidery, silk double sided embroidery, silk brocade
and sandal wood fans.