Zhejiang Map

Area: 13sq.km/5sq. miles. Population: 117,000 (conurbation 666,000)

Jiaxing is situated at 120°45’E and 30°43’N, in the extreme north of the province of Zhejiang, north-east ofthe provincial capital Hangzhou, in the middle of a fertile rice-growing area. Jiaxing can be reached by rail from Hangzhou in two hours, from Shanghai in three.

The great age of thetown can be demonstrated by a documentfrom the Qin era (221-206 b.c.). At that time it was known as’Youquan, its present name going back to the period of the Three Kingdoms (a.d. 220-280). In 1921 the founding of the Communist Party of China was proclaimed from a ship on Lake Nanhu. Jiaxing has been an important rice and silk trading-centre for centuries.

South Lake in the south of the town consists of two connected halves and occupies an area of some 35ha/86 acres. Lying at anchor on the southeastern shore ofthe island known as “Heart ofthe Lake” (Huxin Dao) is the famous ship which witnessed the launching of China’s Communist Party.

The small island has yet another monument, the Palace of the Smoking Rain, which was built in 1549 over the ruins of a building dating from the year 940. Fifty old cut gems are kept in the palace.

Yi Yuan Garden – also known as the garden of the Feng family, who had it laid out in 1871 – is situated in Haining, a small town about 25km/16 miles south-east of Jiaxing. It is the largest and best preserved private garden in the province. It has been open to the public since 1964.

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