Hangzhou enjoys nationwide and international reputation for its charming landscape scenery and abundant humane resources. All the prosperous aspects should be attributed to the canalization of the Grand Canal in the Sui Dynasty (581-618 A.D.), creating a profound cultural atmosphere for Hangzhou.
As the history book of Hangzhou unfolds, Hangzhou wouldn't be so flourishing without the Grand Canal. Founded as Qian Tang county in the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C.-207 B.C.), Hangzhou had been an unknown town until the Grand Canal connected the northern economy and culture with the southern ones in the Sui Dynasty, thus promoting Hangzhou's administrative position in the country. In the Tang Dynasty, Hangzhou began to prosper and turned into a renowned prefecture in southeast China. The withdrawal of the Song court to the south made Hangzhou the political and economic enter. The canal suffered from lack of reparation and was less popular than the business-oriented sea transportation in the Yuan Dynasty. The defeat of Jia Wu War in 1895 led to the establishment of Japanese settlement around Gong Chen Bridge until it was recovered at the end of the Anti-Japanese War.
The ancient canal has been nurturing the land in its neighborhood for thousands of years, rearing the lives on both banks, and pioneering the splendid canal culture. The canal culture covers religion, tea art, food and drinking, silk, local opera, folk theatrical art, classic horticulture, ancient library, bridge and pagoda, leaving prized legacy for the future generations.
Special among the numerous places of interest along the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal are the eight views of Hu Shu in downtown Hangzhou: Jia Cheng Night View, Dou Men Spring Tide, Ban Dao Spring Flushing, Evening Green on the West Hill, Orioles Singing at Flower Nursery, Snow Accumulation by Gao Pavilion, Evening Rain on Bridge, Village Smoke above Bai Dang. Except few views, most of them only left the names over distant past centuries. The remaining five historical places of interest are as follows: Xiang Ji Si Pagoda, Gong Chen Bridge, Gao's Garden, Yang Guan and Zhu Er Pond. Many historical and natural scenic spots do not exist any longer.