Suzhou, also Soochow or Su-chou, all, China, a city in Jiangsu province. The city lies in the Yangtze River delta about 50 miles (80 km) west of Shanghai, on the Grand Canal. Suzhou is a textile, engineering, and food-processing center. It has long been known for fine handicrafts, such as jade carvings and silk embroidery. The city is also noted for its canals, gardens, temples, and pagodas.
Suzhou dates from at least 500 B.C., when, as Wu-hsien, it was the capital of the Wu kingdom. During the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) the city became a major center of trade, finance, and culture. Rapid commercial growth followed the opening of Suzhou to foreign trade in 1896. The Japanese held the city from 1937 until 1945.