Suzhou’s history stretches back over 4000 years, according to written records. Built in 514 BC during China’s Spring and Autumn Period, Suzhou has been a cradle of civilization, a scene of natural beauty, and a nurturer of talented people. Today, the city population is nearly 2.5 million, with over 6 million in the surrounding area.
Known throughout China’s long history as a “Land of Fish and Rice,” as well as a “Silk Capital,” Suzhou is often considered by Chinese citizens as paradise on Earth. The city enjoys four distinct seasons, mild temperature, and abundant rainfall due to its subtropical oceanic monsoon climate. With a network of rivers and canals as well as fertile land, it is rich in a variety of agricultural products including rice, wheat, cotton, and mulberry.
Suzhou’s network of rivers and canals gives rise to the nickname “Venice of the East.” Over 60 classical gardens are well-preserved, nine of which are listed in the Catalog of World Cultural Heritage: These include Lingering Garden, Surging Wave Pavilion, Garden of Couple’s Retreat, and Garden of Retreat and Reflection. Breath-taking views can be found at Lake Taihu. Thousand-year-old towns provide waterside scenery in the Yangtze River delta. The city has developed attractions such as tours around ancient canals and “Dreaming Suzhou,” a large-scale performance of ballet and acrobatics.
In ancient times, Suzhou gave birth to many remarkable politicians, philosophers, strategists, scientists and artists. Today, institutions of higher learning, basic education, and vocational education are making great strides forward. There are two universities, 25 primary and middle schools, and five vocational schools run by non-public organizations. Suzhou Compound City of Postgraduate Schools and Suzhou International Education Park have 300 and 2000 students, respectively.