Located in the middle part of the Yangtze River Delta, Suzhou is adjacent to Shanghai to the east and Zhejiang to the south, and it faces Taihu Lake to the west and the Yangtze River to the north. Suzhou has a 140 km long Yangtze coast extending from the north, the north-south Grand Canal dividing in the middle, and the Nanjing-Shanghai Railway and Expressway running from west to east.
Suzhou is one of the earliest cities that were named as a Historical Chinese City and an Important Travel Destination. It has a history of more than 2,500 years, which begins from 514 B.C. during the Spring and Autumn Period when King Helv of the Wu Kingdom established “Great City of Helv”, the ancient name for Suzhou.
The current major layout of the city is based on what it used to be like 2,500 years ago, highlighted by the exclusive arrangement of “canals paralleling streets, and houses neighboring against rivers. The intersecting canals, exquisite bridges, black-white toned architecture, classical gardens and historical sites have been the selling points of the ancient city. With its temples, gardens, history and unique culture, UNESCO listed Suzhou as a World Cultural Heritage site in 1997.
Suzhou has burned and re-emerged from the ashes more prosperous and beautiful than before on a number of occasions, and what remains today is one of China's most beautiful cities, while the economic boom since the opening up of China's economy in the 1980s has made it an attractive target for investment in high-tech industries. In 2014 GDP in Suzhou reached 1350 billion.