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a city in China; administrative center of Chekiang Province. Population, 960,000 (1970). Hangchou is a large port on the East China Sea, at the mouth of the Fuch’un River and on the Grand Canal. It is an important center of the silk industry; other industries include jute production, tea processing, metal-working, and the production of paper, rubber, and electronic equipment. Cottage industries specialize in woven and bamboo goods. Hangchou has a university. Near the city there is a health resort area on Lake Hsihu.
Hangchou was founded in A.D. 589. From 1129 to 1279 it was the capital of the Southern Sung dynasty and was called Linan. Destroyed by invading Mongols, it was rebuilt in 1356. From December 1861 through April 1864 the city was in the hands of the Taiping rebels. In 1895 it was opened to foreign trade, and in 1896 Japanese and British settlements were built on its territory. From 1937 to 1945 the city was occupied by Japanese forces. It was liberated from the Kuomintang by the People’s Liberation Army of China in May 1949.
North of Lake Hsihu rises Mount Kushan, on the slopes of which is a medieval architectural complex and park. The lake is crossed by artificial dams measuring approximately 3 km in length, with arched towers; on the little island of Hsiaoyingchou there are three pagoda-like stone towers. One site of interest in the mountains surrounding the lake is Feilaifeng cliff, with caves decorated with approximately 500 bas-reliefs depicting Buddha. Also of note are the fourth-century Linyinssu Buddhist temple and the Liuhot’a and Paoch’u pagodas, both from the tenth century.