Hangzhou, or Hang-chou, also Hangchow, China, the capital of Zhejiang province. Hangzhou is situated at the head of Hangzhou Wan, an arm of the East China Sea, about 110 miles (175 km) southeast of Shanghai. For centuries it has been renowned for the beauty of its setting near high wooded hills.
Traditional items, such as silk textiles, paper products, and processed tea, are produced in Hangzhou. Under the Communists the city has also developed heavy industry. Hangzhou has rail, road, and air facilities, and is the southern terminal of the Grand Canal. Institutions include several universities, the provincial library, and the provincial museum.
Hangzhou was originally a fishing village, and became commercially prominent early in the Tang dynasty (618–907). It reached its greatest height as the capital of the Sung dynasty from 1127 until 1276, when it fell to the Mongols under Kublai Khan. The city, called Linan at that time, had almost a million inhabitants and was described by Marco Polo as the richest city in the world. Hangzhou was severely damaged in 1861 during the Taiping Rebellion. Japanese troops occupied it from 1937 until 1945.