As the easternmost coastal province of China, Zhejiang is the region of the earliest sunrise. Zhejiang shares a border with Jiangsu and Shanghai in the north, Anhui and Jiangxi in the west and Fujian in the south, while in the east is the East China Sea, beyond which lie the Ryukyu Islands of Japan. The word “Zhejiang” is previously the name of the longest river in the province, the Qiantang River, which passes through Hangzhou, the provincial capital.
Zhejiang covers a total area of 101.800 square kilometers, of which hills and mountains account for 70.4 percent, plains and basins 23.2 percent while the remaining 6.4 percent is rivers and lakes. With a coastline of 6,486 kilometers which is the longest for a single province in China, Zhejiang is the province with most islands and isles in the country which possesses more than 3,000 islands along its coast with Zhoushan Island as the largest which is also Mainland China’s third largest island, after Hainan Island and Chongming Island.
Known as “a land of fish and rice”, Zhejiang is comprehensive productive in agricultural products, rice, tea, silk, oranges, jute, bamboo products as well as seafood feature largely in China. The Northern Zhejiang Plain provides the ideal conditions for growing rice while Zhoushan Fishing Ground is China’s largest ocean fishery base and the four largest fisheries in the world. Originating in Hangzhou, the world-famous Longjing (also called “Dragon Well”) green tea, is one of the most prestigious Chinese tea, if not the most prestigious.
Travel to Zhejiang, do treat yourself a feast of Zhejiang cuisine. Naturally, as a coastal province and “the land of fish and rice,” Zhejiang has always be a great place for eating. Zhejiang cuisine, is one of the eight famous culinary styles in China. It consists of three major styles, namely Hangzhou style, Ningbo style and Shaoxing style, each having its own special characteristics. Among them, Hangzhou cuisine is considered to be the most representative one. Taking in Hangzhou’s exquisiteness and diversification, Ningbo’s freshness and originality, as well as Shaoxing’s softness and mellow fragrance, Zhejiang cuisine is noted for its elaborate preparation, sophisticated cooking and refreshing taste. Special care is taken in the cooking process to make the ingredients not only fresh and tender in taste, but also extremely elegant in appearance. Some of the most popular dishes are Dongpo Pork (Stir-Fried Pork), Beggar’s Chicken, West Lake Fish in Sweet and Sour Sauce, Shrimp with Longjing Tea, Fish Balls in Clear Soup.
Culture and Tradition
As one of the birthplaces of ancient Chinese civilization, Zhejiang is blessed with rich cultural heritage. Zhejiang is extremely diverse in languages, most Zhejiang people speak Wu dialects, which are so diverse that one valley may speak a dialect completely unintelligible to the next valley a few kilometers away. Non-Wu dialects such as Mandarin, Huizhou dialects, Min dialects, are also spoken, mainly along the borders. To allow for better communication, there have been a series of lingua francas throughout history. Zhejiang province, more specifically, the city of Shengzhou, is the home of Yueju opera, the most popular form of Chinese opera after the Peking opera. Due to the elegance and softness, Yueju Opera is suitable for telling love stories. It was initially performed by men only, but since 1930s, Yueju Opera is performed by females alone, who also play the male roles. There are also some other important opera traditions include Yongju (of Ningbo), Shaoju (of Shaoxing), Ouju(of Wenzhou), Wuju(of Jinhua), Zhuji Luantan (of Zhuji) and Taizhou Luantan (of Taizhou). Zhejiang has always be among the best in Chinese literature, painting, calligraphy, theater as well as arts.
Travel to Zhejiang
Marco Polo, an Italian traveler, writing at the end of the 13th century, described the city of Hangzhou as “the most beautiful and magnificent city in the world”. Hangzhou, the capital city of Zhejiang province, as well as the capital of Southern Song Dynasty from 1127 until 1276, is the political, economic and cultural center of the province long since ancient times. Famous for its natural beauty and historical & cultural heritages, Hangzhou, along with its West Lake is immortalized by thousands of outstanding poets, scholars and artists since the 9th century. Undoubtedly, the most famous attraction in Hangzhou is West Lake. West Lake, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011, was considered a cultural landscape that has influenced garden design in the rest of the country as well as in Japan and Korea nearby over the centuries. Known as the “Venice of the East”, the beautiful water town Wuzhen, located in Tongxiang, northern of Zhejiang province, is a charming place with time-honored houses, bridges, water system as well as culture and traditions. With a age of as old as 7,000 years, the town is one of China’s most significant relic. Other famous tourist destinations in Zhejiang include: Thousand-island lake, a man-made lake in Chun’an County, Mount Putuo, one of the most notable Buddhist mountains in China and Baoguo Temple, one of the oldest surviving wooden structures in Southern China.
Legends & Folklore