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Suzhou History


Suzhou HistoryThe famous Italian missionary and merchant Marco Polo (1254 – 1324) once praised Suzhou as "The Oriental Venice". And the French philosopher of from the Age of Enlightenment, Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1689 – 1755) described the ancient city was the result of "The Work of Deity". The City of Suzhou was established in 514 BC, when the emperor of the ancient Wu State ordered a renegade general from the Chu State to build a new city. Suzhou was the capital of Wu State of the Spring and Autumn Period. Suzhou is a large city that its location has never been changed during its long history. It has many beautiful waterways that are flowing and paralleling to streets and lanes. These special characteristics are rare to see at home and abroad. According to new archeological findings, Suzhou is the oldest city in China. There are recorded documents about the city older than 4,200 years before present found. Nowadays Suzhou is one of the great scenic cities in China and the world.

The history of Suzhou influenced the garden architecture in the ancient city. Canglang (Blue Wave) Pavilion, Lion Grove Garden, Humble Administrator's Garden and Lingering Garden represent the artistic and architectural styles of Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties respectively. Moreover, Suzhou has discovered many relics from the ancient times. The Liangzhu Culture (良渚文化) from the late Neolithic Epoch has left much historical heritage to Suzhou. Relic sites of old residential areas have been found in recent decades.

As being regarded as a Heavenly City with Hangzhou, Suzhou embodies little stone bridges, crystal-clear flowing water and happy living residents. It has been the imperial capital of Wu State of the Spring and Autumn Period, Yue State from the Warring States Period, Wu from the Three Kingdoms and Zhangwu (张吴) Regime in the late Yuan Dynasty.

Origin of Name

It was said that in the latter days of the Shang Dynasty (17th century BC – 11th century BC), a king of Zhou had three sons and he handpicked one of them to be his successor. The other two thought that they wanted to avoid fighting for the throne against their brother, so they went southward to the south of the lower reaches of Yangtze River. At that time the place was being seen as barbaric zone that primitive people were living. They brought the advanced culture and agricultural technique to there. They were much welcomed by the locals. One of them, called Taibo (泰伯) became the king of the new state – Wu, and the capital, Meili (梅里) was established near Wuxi (无锡) area. In sixth century BC, the city had to expand in order to cope with further development and increasing population. The state moved the capital to what now called Suzhou area.

222 BC, Qinshihuang Emperor set up a eparchy in former Wu's capital, so it had been called "Wu County" or Wuzhou (吴州). The Sui Dynasty changed it to Suzhou in 589 AD. It got this new name from a mountain in the west of the city called Gusu (姑苏). Since then, Suzhou has been the name of this beautiful tourism city.




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